Covid-19: 2,027 new cases, eight fatalities bring death toll to 509

January 5th, 2021

PUTRAJAYA: Covid-19 cases have once again breached the 2,000 mark, with Malaysia recording another 2,027 more infections on Tuesday (Jan 5).

In a statement, Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said the country’s total confirmed cases is now 122,845.

INTERACTIVE: Latest figures (Malaysia)

Eight people also died due to the coronavirus, raising Malaysia’s Covid-19 death toll to 509.

The country also discharged 1,221 Covid-19 patients, which means 99,449 people have recovered.

The number of people with active Covid-19 infections in Malaysia has gone up to 22,887.

Currently, 123 patients are in intensive care, with 52 requiring ventilator support.

Dr Noor Hisham said 16 of Tuesday’s cases were imported infections, while the rest are local transmissions.

Selangor again recorded the highest increase of the day out of all states with 509 new cases, or 25.1% of the country’s total.

This is followed by Johor with 428 or 21.1% of cases, and Sabah with 383 cases (18.9%).

The number of cases reported in the remaining states are as follows: Kuala Lumpur (313 cases), Negri Sembilan (98), Penang (60), Kedah (47), Kelantan (42), Labuan (37), Perak (25), Pahang (25), Melaka (21), Sarawak (13), Terengganu (13) and Putrajaya (13).

Only Perlis reported no new cases in the state.

INTERACTIVE: Latest figures (Worldwide)

There are 111 new cases reported from prison and detention centre clusters, which is about 5.5% of Tuesday’s tally.

On the eight deaths on Tuesday, Dr Noor Hisham said five were in Sabah, two in Selangor and one in Johor – all aged between 52 and 78.

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By JOSEPH KAOS JR.

Read more @ https://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2021/01/05/covid-19-2027-new-cases-eight-fatalities-bring-death-toll-to-509

Setting a ‘Smart Goal’ when learning online

January 5th, 2021
Smart is mainly an acronym for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely. - File picSmart is mainly an acronym for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely. – File pic

LETTERS: It has always been a great challenge making the kids focus while learning via online classes necessitated by the post-Covid-19 exigencies. There are a 101 causes of distractions at home.

Talking it out during one of the usual family discussions has greatly helped out in making the kids see the need for a “Smart goal” added to that is occasional rewards for accomplishing great tasks.

The kids always long for family discussion because everyone is heard and they also get to contribute and express feelings during the discussion. Smart is mainly an acronym for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely.

Incorporating all of these criteria while setting goals would greatly help to focus and direct or redirect all efforts, thus, increasing the chances of achieving the desired goal. Admittedly, it is not an easy task to carry the kids along.

With sincere empathy and persuasion, however, they would naturally tag along, though kids would always be kids. Setting goals have always been part of every aspect of life, teaching, research and business.

It does not only provide a sense of motivation and direction but also helps to clarify importance, get a clear focus or target to aim for.

Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) says: “… strive for that which will benefit you, seek the help of Allah, and do not feel helpless…” (Sahih Muslim)

Even if the desired goal is not achieved despite putting up the right effort, you would surely feel a sense of fulfillment.

“As for those who struggle in Our cause, We will surely guide them along Our Way. And Allah is certainly with the good-doers.” (Quran 29 Vs 69)

About the first Smart Goal: Specific. It must be crystal clear, unambiguous and easily understandable. Thus, it is well defined and you know exactly who is involved, what you want to accomplish, where it would be achieved, when and why it should be achieved. Goals that are made specific have a greater chance of being comprehensively accomplished.

Second, a measurable Smart goal is obtainable, easily trackable. Its progress can be easily monitored through prior set criteria or indicators, and you are pretty sure when it is achieved or completed.

Third, an achievable Smart goal is attainable and can be completed within the scheduled conditions and time using the available resources and capabilities. Being achievable helps you to figure out how to maximise the available resources or get the needed resources to realise it and what to be specifically done.

Fourth, a realistic Smart goal is that which you strongly believe can be accomplished and you can provide or get the required and sufficient resources, knowledge, skills and time to achieve it. On the other hand, a relevant Smart goal meets the needs and requirements of the overall aims/objectives or your life purpose.

Fifth, a timely Smart goal is time-bound. You can set a specific time within which its outcome should be achieved. The time should be enough and also not too much to achieve the goal. The start and finish date must be specifically defined. A Smart goal that is time-constrained gives you a sense of urgency and more motivation.

So, as the new academic or calendar year rolls out, set out your plans and organise them around your priorities. Begin with the end in mind and with a sense of direction. And start with first things first. Decide on a Smart goal for your spiritual, mental, physical and emotional health. Schedule and organise the main goals into monthly, weekly and daily tasks.

For instance, draft some key performance indices. How many relevant journals or books can you read weekly and discuss with friends and family? How and what do you want to contribute to your community development, both as an individual and with others? How do you want to monitor your overall health and lifestyle?

Keep doing this over and over. Surmount the courage. Encourage others around you. Be gentle to yourself and reward yourself, endlessly.

by Dr Idris Adewale Ahmed

Read more @ https://www.nst.com.my/opinion/letters/2021/01/654714/setting-smart-goal-when-learning-online

Fed up with Umno’s endless politicking

January 5th, 2021
Since the past few days, they have been making noises, demanding that a snap general election be held amidst these calamities.  - NSTP file picSince the past few days, they have been making noises, demanding that a snap general election be held amidst these calamities. – NSTP file pic

LETTERS: The suffering of thousands of flood evacuees in many water-inundated areas and the high number of Covid-19 patients reported daily do not seem to have any moral or health bearings on Umno leaders.

Since the past few days, they have been making noises, demanding that a snap general election be held amidst these calamities.

It seems that they are throwing humanitarian advocacy and civilian protection into the bin for the sake of their political gimmicks and agenda.

All these started with Umno’s Tajuddin Abdul Rahman recently calling on Pas against working with Parti Bersatu Pribumi Malaysia, helmed by Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.

Tajuddin, seen as a staunch ally of former prime minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak, had suggested that Pas violated the Muafakat Nasional charter by becoming a component party of the Perikatan Nasional government.

He also issued a warning to Pas leaders, reminding them about the importance of fulfilling a promise.

Tajuddin’s claim of Pas joining PN alongside Bersatu without Umno’s agreement, however, was rebutted by Pas who said it was the party’s right to work with whichever party it is comfortable with.

Tajuddin, Najib and Umno president Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi are among Umno leaders who have been vocal in criticising Muhyiddin, accusing him of sidelining Umno for key government posts.

A few days ago, Tajuddin, who is Umno election director, upped his ante, saying Umno would work with Pas, and not Bersatu, in the general election.

He also did not dismiss the possibility of Umno working with DAP, PKR and Amanah, saying cooperation with anyone is not impossible in politics.

And other Umno leaders have since joined the bandwagon — and their noises are getting louder that the general election be held.

And today, Barisan Nasional, of which Zahid is chairman, sacked BN secretary-general Tan Sri Annuar Musa as, they claimed, “his views are not in sync with the BN’s lynchpin party”.

Annuar is said to have failed to toe party lines and sided with the Bersatu-led PN government instead of the party.

Annuar, who is federal territories minister, has been constantly defending PN over several issues — all these must have incurred the wrath of Umno leaders, including Zahid and Najib.

From one Umno leader to another, they keep making political demands at the expense of the thousands of rakyat who are now suffering due to the pandemic and floods. Seemingly, their political greed has intensified and the rakyat no longer matter.

Why are these leaders in such a hurry to have the general election now? Has this got anything to do with their court cases?

It was reported that concerns were running high that several Umno leaders who are undergoing graft trials would be set free.

Take Zahid, who is facing a total of 87 charges in two separate trials for alleged criminal breach of trust, money laundering and bribery, and Najib, who is facing charges of corruption and abuse of power over transactions involving billions of ringgit linked to 1Malaysia Development Bhd and SRC International Sdn Bhd.

Najib and his son, Nizar, are appealing over tax payments totaling RM1.7 billion due to the Inland Revenue Board.

Politicians, please take note. This is just not the right time for Malaysia to hold a general election.

The pandemic has claimed hundreds of lives since it erupted early this year while heavy flooding has ruined the lives of many thousands of Malaysians in Pahang and Johor.

Do we want to see fatalities in the thousands, only then we can start to think rationally again, for peace and harmony?

The prime minister has given his assurance that Malaysia would hold a general election when the pandemic is over.

Muhyiddin was quoted as saying recently that “if you asked me, even yesterday I might have advised the Yang di-Pertuan Agong to dissolve Parliament for the general election to be held. But we all know the problem is Covid-19″.

He also said the PN government would return the mandate to the people and leave it to them to choose which

government they want.

So, why can’t Umno leaders and members be patient for a little while longer? We are facing a new wave of Covid-19, with cumulative cases rising more than four-fold of late. And don’t forget about the floods, too!

As chaotic and restless as those families affected by the pandemic and flooding are, do we want our nation and people to be as chaotic and disintegrated when the general election is called?

People are fed up with unending politicking and they want political leaders to help them, not constantly fighting for power.

by Kamariah Mohd Zin.

Read more @ https://www.nst.com.my/opinion/letters/2021/01/654718/fed-umnos-endless-politicking

Agong expresses sympathy for flood victims nationwide [NSTTV]

January 5th, 2021
The King and Queen (centre and right) made a surprise visit to flood-hit Maran in Pahang, earlier today. Pic from FACEBOOK/ISTANA NEGARA.
The King and Queen (centre and right) made a surprise visit to flood-hit Maran in Pahang, earlier today. Pic from FACEBOOK/ISTANA NEGARA.
KUALA LUMPUR: The Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah today expressed his sympathy to flood victims in the states of Pahang, Terengganu, Kelantan, Johor, Perak and Selangor.

In a statement issued by Istana Negara today, Al-Sultan Abdullah also expressed hope that the victims would remain strong in facing the disaster that has befallen them.

His Majesty also called on the relevant authorities, especially the National Disaster Management Agency (Nadma) to continue helping victims in flood-hit states.

“The people, especially in low-lying areas, are advised to remain vigilant, prioritise their personal and family safety, and be prepared to be evacuated to temporary relief centres when instructed by the authorities,” he said.

With the rising daily number of positive Covid-19 cases in the country, Al-Sultan Abdullah also advised all evacuees and workers at evacuation centres to practice the new norm and comply with all the standard operating procedures (SOP) to curb the spread of the disease.

The statement said that Al-Sultan Abdullah also visited and presented donations to flood evacuees housed at four relief centres in Maran, Pahang, today – namely at SMK Maran, Surau Kampung Jara, SK Kuala Sentul and Masjid As Syakirin.

“During the visit, His Majesty also expressed gratitude and appreciation to Nadma, state governments and district administrators, as well as rescue agencies, police and military personnel as well as the Civil Defence Force and Social Welfare Department for working tirelessly in helping the victims,” the statement said.

The King also called on the people to pray for the floods to quickly subside and not to claim any other victims or cause more damage to private and public properties.

Heavy rain since Saturday has caused floods in the six states, with thousands of victims having to be evacuated to relief centres.

By Bernama.

Mandarin oranges to cost same as last year

January 5th, 2021

KOTA KINABALU: Although shipping costs have increased between 50 and 100 percent, the prices of Mandarin oranges are expected to maintain as previous year due to abundant supply.

Mr Lo, an importer of fresh fruits, vegetables and foodstuffs, said the abundant supply of Mandarin oranges in L and XL sizes this year have driven down their prices.

Meanwhile, he said the prices for smaller Mandarin oranges remained stable.

Lo, the owner of Lo Siew Lin Sdn Bhd, lamented that shipping costs have increased between 50 to 100 percent, depending on the shipping companies and routes, while shipments were often delayed by two to four weeks.

He said the delay in shipment was the worst that he had ever experienced, which was mainly caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Lo said there was also an acute shortage of refrigerated containers which he used to import fresh vegetables and fruits.

He said there are fewer shipping vessels coming to Kota Kinabalu now because the volume of goods is little or due to scheduling reasons.

He said some mother vessels opted to go to Bintulu instead of Kota Kinabalu, after which the goods bound for Sabah were shipped using domestic vessels.

Lo said he imported Mandarin oranges from China and Taiwan.

“Our shipment from Kaohsiung, Taiwan travelled from China to Hong Kong, Kaohsiung and docked at Bintulu before the Mandarin oranges are delivered to Kota Kinabalu.”

He said the goods were often delayed two to three weeks, or even up to a month.

In fact, he said a shipment of Mandarin oranges was supposed to arrive on Sunday (Jan 3) but the consignment had been delayed for another 10 days.

“Shipping companies do not compensate for delays. We are only compensated if we purchase insurance.”
Nevertheless, Lo said the prices of Mandarin oranges would not be more expensive than last year.
“Mandarin oranges this year will not be more expensive than the previous year,” he said.

Lo said he had imported the same volume of Mandarin oranges as last year, though he declined to disclose the amount.

“We had sold out all our Mandarin oranges last year.”

However, he expected the sales of Mandarin oranges to drop by more than 30 percent due to the Covid-19 pandemic which had affected the livelihoods of many.

BY CHOK SIM YEE.

Read more @ https://www.theborneopost.com/2021/01/04/mandarin-oranges-to-cost-same-as-last-year/

MOH identifies 14 clusters due to interstate travel, social activities

January 5th, 2021

Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah

PUTRAJAYA: A total of 14 Covid-19 clusters have been identified due to interstate travel and social activities since Dec 7 last year, said Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah.

He said five of them were caused by cross border or interstate travel, while nine clusters were identified from social activities.

“Clusters due to cross border or state involved three in Pahang which are the Intan, Semambu and Tembok Mempaga, one in Kelantan (Seragam Chepa) and one in Perak, the Ehsan Ibol cluster.

“Nine clusters caused by social activities are Gerbang Pongsu in Perak, Lintas Seraya (Sabah), Sungai Redan (Johor), Maringkan (Sabah), Cassia Diamond (Penang and Selangor), Paginatan (Sabah), Sungai Burong (Selangor and Negeri Sembilan), Kupi-Kupi (Sabah) and Bandar Impian (Johor, Kelantan and Perak),” he told a media conference on Covid-19 developments here yesterday.

Meanwhile, Dr Noor Hisham said the Health Ministry (MoH) has identified an increase of Covid-19 cases at workplaces in the pandemic’s third wave.

“Initially those infected at the workplaces were foreign workers in construction site and factories, but now we are seeing more local workers being infected.

“This is a concern for us and we hope that although we have eased movement restrictions for the public, everyone must comply with the SOPs (standard operating procedures),” he added.

by Bernama.

Read more @ https://www.theborneopost.com/2021/01/05/moh-identifies-14-clusters-due-to-interstate-travel-social-activities/

Body immunity, SOP will curb Covid-19 spread

January 5th, 2021
Whether it’s a mutant or normal SARS-CoV-2 virus, if we strictly follow the SOP, we can break the chain of infection. - NSTP file pic, for illustration purposes onlyWhether it’s a mutant or normal SARS-CoV-2 virus, if we strictly follow the SOP, we can break the chain of infection. – NSTP file pic, for illustration purposes only

WE have begun a new year, and the Covid-19 virus is still with us. Research has shown that the virus is caused by SARS-CoV-2 RNA virus which has a genome comprising around 30,000 bases.

The single-stranded ribonucleic acid (RNA) genetic material is made of building blocks A, G, U and C, i.e. adenine, guanine, uracil and cytosine bases.

Simply put, building blocks in various combination codes make up amino acids and a protein is made up of several amino acids.

The spike protein present in the SARS-CoV-2 virus is made of 1,273 amino acids. Any change in the combination can cause a change in the protein, which is commonly called a mutation.

Since SARSCoV-2 virus genome is made of single-stranded RNA, the mutation rate is slightly higher than bacteria. So far, several mutations have been reported in SARS-CoV-2. Most of the speculation about this virus variant are based on genome sequence and epidemiological data without experimental evidence, hence it is hard to conclude the infectivity of this virus.

Though the United Kingdom variant is proposed to have increased transmission rate by genomic epidemiological studies, thorough biological and virological studies need to be conducted to understand these specific mutations role in transmission, disease severity and mortality.

Our immune system can only recognise a short stretch of amino acids (eight to 15 in number) in the spike protein, called epitopes, and elicit an immune response. As the spike protein has 1,273 amino acids, it has numerous epitopes that can be targeted by our immune system.

However, there are three perspectives why we should not worry about the mutations in SARSCoV-2. First is the vaccine perspective. Most of the vaccines that are being developed for Covid-19 uses spike protein or its gene as the target.

Since spike protein of this virus has numerous epitopes, change in just one amino acid in a few locations will not significantly change our immune response to a vaccine.

It is analogous to shooting an object that has 100 targets, if we miss two targets, we still have 98 targets to “shoot” and clear the virus.

Currently the two major vaccines being licensed are RNA based vaccines. The sequence of RNA molecule in the vaccine is essentially synthesised in the laboratory, based on the genome sequence of the SARS-CoV-2 virus and encapsulated with lipid molecules.

The modified RNA molecule can be easily synthesised in a lab in a very short time, in the event of major mutations in the spike gene.

We can draw some comfort that it is unlikely that a sporadic mutation of spike gene can alter the immune efficiency of forthcoming vaccines for Covid-19.

Nevertheless, we should also monitor all possible variants of this virus by sequencing. Then we have the diagnostic perspective.

The molecular diagnostic test for Covid-19 is done by real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) method to detect N1 and RP genes or any sequence among the 30,000 bases.

Generally, multiple genes are targeted by this test, even if one gene is mutated the other gene can be detected by this method.

Even if the spike gene is used as a target, the location of the primers can be changed based on the mutations prevalence in the region. Hence, the impact on the diagnostic accuracy of Covid-19 due to spike mutation can be avoided by choosing the correct region of the genes in the realtime PCR test.

Finally, the containment perspective. This is the strict following of the standard operating procedures (SOP) by every person.

Observing the new norms, such as wearing masks, washing hands frequently, using hand sanitisers, maintaining social distancing, and minimising non-essential travels, are a must.

Even if the mutation allows the faster spread of the virus, strict SOP will break the chain of the spread of the virus.

There is plenty of good news on the horizon concerning Covid-19 vaccine, and how the mutations may not be as dangerous as they appear.

Let us trust our immunity — if one epitope is mutated, there are other sites (epitopes) our immunity can attack the virus.

Whether it’s a mutant or normal SARS-CoV-2 virus, if we strictly follow the SOP, we can break the chain of infection.

By Dr Ravichandran Manickam.

Read more @ https://www.nst.com.my/opinion/columnists/2021/01/654540/body-immunity-sop-will-curb-covid-19-spread

Challenges in vaccination

January 5th, 2021
A medical worker receiving a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine at the hospital Hotel-Dieu in Paris, on Jan 2, 2021 as part of a vaccination campaign for healthcare workers aged 50 and above. - AFP picA medical worker receiving a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine at the hospital Hotel-Dieu in Paris, on Jan 2, 2021 as part of a vaccination campaign for healthcare workers aged 50 and above. – AFP pic

LETTER: The World Health Organisation has identified vaccine hesitancy, defined as “the reluctance or refusal to vaccinate despite the availability of vaccines”, as one of the top 10 threats to global health.

A survey by the Pew Research Centre in November last year to gauge the number of Americans planning to obtain the Covid-19 vaccine found that 39 per cent of Americans say they definitely or probably would not get the vaccine.

In addition, 21 per cent of this group do not intend to get vaccinated and are “pretty certain” more information will not change their mind. Concern about the risk of being infected by the coronavirus, trust in the vaccine development process and personal experience when it comes to other vaccines were three factors shaping the intent of getting the Covid-19 vaccine identified in the survey.

According to another study surveying global trends in vaccine confidence conducted by researchers from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, which was published in the medical journal The Lancet, vaccine uptake is determined primarily by trust in the importance, safety and effectiveness of vaccines, as well as perception in the religious compatibility of vaccines.

Researchers reported significant decrease in vaccine confidence in Indonesia between 2015 and last year due to “Muslim leaders questioning the safety of the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine, and ultimately issuing a fatwa claiming that the vaccine was haram and contained ingredients derived from pigs, and thus not acceptable for Muslims”.

It is becoming increasingly clear that the task of persuading the public to take up the Covid-19 vaccine will be just as challenging as the race to develop the vaccine. One may invest huge sums of money to develop the safest and the most effective vaccine in the shortest time possible, but should the public be averse to the vaccine, its utility — that is, its ability to cure the infected and to prevent transmission — will not be maximised.

We see groups openly declaring that they shall not permit themselves to be vaccinated although it is in their own personal, familial and social interests to do so. We see groups distrusting the scientific advice of public health experts regarding standard operating procedures and lockdowns for non-scientific reasons.

Therefore, in one sense, the rise of pseudo-science may be linked to inadequate and improper religious education. It is not so much the fault of religion, rather how religion is presented by its authorities and taught to the masses.

People are inclined to be sceptical towards science because religion as they learned it, which provides a worldview for most of them, did not make space nor indicate the proper place of the investigation of the natural world, that is, science.

Imagine instead if a young person was taught the contributions made by Muslims in science, philosophy, arts or history during their religious education. Imagine if they were taught how religious values impelled and influenced Muslims to investigate the world around them. Imagine if this person was taught that modern science owes a great debt to Muslims, as well.

Granted, this may not completely solve the so-called “problem” of religion versus science. But at least this young person will have an intellectual compass to guide him as he is gradually exposed to modern science while growing up.

by WAN MOHD AIMRAN WAN MOHD KAMIL

Read more @ https://www.nst.com.my/opinion/letters/2021/01/654536/challenges-vaccination

Pinning hope on a much better year

January 5th, 2021
Former cycling coach Azmy Mohamad hopes the New Year will bring stability  and for all to be able to get back to a life of normalcy.  PIC COURTESY OF AZMY MOHAMAD Former cycling coach Azmy Mohamad hopes the New Year will bring stability and for all to be able to get back to a life of normalcy. PIC COURTESY OF AZMY MOHAMAD

PETALING JAYA: The year 2020 can be summed up as one of the most distressing periods in recent times, following the global spread of Covid-19 which changed the lives of the world’s population.

The world, as the people know it, is no longer the same.

However, the change which saw tragic deaths, severe economic setback leading to billions in losses as well as massive job cuts, has influenced the resolution of many as they stride into 2021 with optimism.

Azmy Mohamad, 42, is still struggling to make ends meet for his family after losing his job as a cycling and fitness coach last year. But the hardship did not leave him wallowing in despair.

As a freelancer, among others, he held online fitness classes and took up delivery jobs to ensure a steady flow of income and financial stability.

He hardly celebrated his birthday, which was on Saturday, as the jobs kept him busy.

Shahir AliShahir Ali

“It was the toughest year for me. The gyms had to close because of Covid-19 and I became a freelancer overnight.

“I had to do anything I could to put food on the table. I am also taking care of my elderly parents.

“I started doing deliveries using my motorcycle. But the last couple of months have been a boon for me, as more movement was allowed.

“I have also resorted to using my social media channels to engage with those interested in online fitness classes and coaching. It is not easy but I am persevering, nonetheless.”

Azmy expressed hope for the effectiveness of Covid-19 vaccines, that are expected to be made available soon.

“Although I am still struggling to pick up the pieces after all that has happened, I pray for the vaccines to work, so I can return to my former job and take care of my parents better.”

As for Shahir Ali, 43, he hoped for Malaysian companies to prioritise local talents who were desperately looking for jobs, instead of relying on highly-paid expatriates.

The father of two school-going children with an extensive background in local and foreign theme park attractions close to 20 years, Shahir had been doing odd-jobs to help supplement the household income.

“I lost my job last year because theme parks had to close indefinitely. Thankfully my wife is still working.

Shahir Ali hopes Malaysian companies will prioritise local talents over expatriates during the pandemic. BERNAMA PIC Shahir Ali hopes Malaysian companies will prioritise local talents over expatriates during the pandemic. BERNAMA PIC

“I have been doing odd jobs here and there to help out with the bills and living expenses, which we had reduced.

“I am continuing the job search in any segment or industry. I realise that job opportunities are limited, especially for those like me at my age. But I’m not fussy and will grab just about anything that crops up.”

Ashleigh Lim, a former marketing head in the retail sector who was retrenched last year, said she was determined to realise her new year’s resolution, which entailed improving financial management and skills for future jobs.

“I haven’t landed a full-time job as the market has also shrunk severely.

“For this new year, I resolve to strive to succeed on my own since I have started freelancing for some months now.

“I will continue to reduce my expenditure and look for bargains for just about anything and everything to ensure that every ringgit is stretched.

” I plan to take up online learning and upskilling courses that are free so that I am better equipped and a more attractive prospect when it comes to hiring.”

Lim remained positive despite the ongoing difficulties.

“I also strive to be more proactive. Perseverance is key in accepting that there will be much more rejections to stomach before success can be achieved.

“I just hope that this new year will turn out to be a much better and brighter one for all of us.”

By Azdee Amir.

Read more @ https://www.nst.com.my/news/nation/2021/01/654605/pinning-hope-much-better-year

Covid-19 vaccine not an ‘immunity passport’

January 5th, 2021
Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah stressed that the Covid-19 vaccine is not an ‘immunity passport’. - Bernama picHealth director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah stressed that the Covid-19 vaccine is not an ‘immunity passport’. – Bernama pic

PUTRAJAYA: The Health Ministry has reminded people to not get carried away once they are inoculated with the Covid-19 vaccine as they still have to monitor its response.

During the Covid-19 cases briefing session here, Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah stressed that the vaccine is not an ‘immunity passport.’

“It does not mean that once vaccinated, they can travel anywhere. No.

“We still need to look into the safety efficacy of the vaccine and time will tell, probably in four to six months, to see the outcome,” he said today.

At the moment, only one company has submitted the dossier for its vaccine and the National Pharmaceutical Regulatory Agency (NPRA) is studying it.

The earliest the vaccine can be approved is by the end of February while the vaccination exercise may begin the following month, he said.

“It depends on how fast the company can respond to issues and questions raised by the committee and we will proceed from there,” he added.

By Teoh Pei YingMohamed Basyir.

Read more @ https://www.nst.com.my/news/nation/2021/01/654482/covid-19-vaccine-not-immunity-passport