JOHOR BAHRU: The Johor state government is adopting a “strategy shift” in managing the COVID-19 pandemic and aiming to “test, trace and vaccinate better”, said Johor Chief Minister Hasni Mohammad. 
He said this in response to calls from Johor Crown Prince Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim to expedite initiatives for residents to be widely screened and vaccinated as soon as possible. 
In a Facebook post on Sunday (Jul 4), Mr Hasi wrote: “The state government is adopting a ‘strategy shift’ in managing the COVID-19 pandemic. Johor is aware that COVID-19 will be endemic and live in our community for quite some time.”
A new approach, through the implementation of public health protocols, should be adopted so that COVID-19 can be managed more efficiently and effectively, he said.
“These measures include increasing access to self-test kits, allocating resources to obtain more vaccine supplies as well as other reasonable measures. 
“Under the new strategy shift, Johor will test, trace and vaccinate better,” Mr Hasni added. 
Tunku Ismail’s statement was issued following his meeting with Mr Hasni, Johor State Tourism, Youth and Sports Committee chairman Onn Hafiz Ghazi and Johor State Secretary Azmi Rohani on Sunday. 
“To date, the COVID-19 statistics indicate a high number of daily cases. The rakyat (people) have been stuck at home for almost two months and I’m worried that the people are now facing mental and physical health problems,” said Tunku Ismail. 
“Besides that, socioeconomic issues have also arisen due to the prolonged situation. I feel that the SOPs (standard operating procedures) need to be revised holistically and based on accurate data. Simply locking the people indoors is no longer relevant,” he added. 
Tunku Ismail also called for self-test kits to be introduced as soon as possible and used widely in crucial business sectors, especially in the processing of medicine, food and basic necessities. 
“I have also decreed for the vaccination process for Johor residents to be expedited through various initiatives, including for the Johor state government to obtain vaccines through direct purchases. With this, I hope we will succeed in overcoming this pandemic,” he added. 
On Sunday, Malaysia logged 6,054 new COVID-19 cases, of which 500 cases were recorded in Johor. There are now more than 770,000 cases nationwide.
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