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“Where’s The SOP?” Indoor National Sports Day Event Draws Flak

“Where’s The SOP?” Indoor National Sports Day Event Draws Flak

Both indoor and outdoor physical or non-physical contact sports and recreational activities are allowed in Phase 3 of PPN SOPs.

Akmal Hakim

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While the weekend saw Malaysians rejoicing over the removal of the interstate and international border restrictions that have been in placed for the most part of the pandemic, a series of videos capturing the indoor aerobics sessions that took place during the 2021 National Sports Day celebrations, that same weekend, did draw some public health concerns.

Footage shared online showed civil servants participating in mass aerobics sessions in what appears to be two separate indoor event halls.

The events were said to have been attended by Communications and Multimedia Minister Tan Sri Annuar Musa and Rural Development Minister Datuk Seri Mahdzir Khalid, along with members of their ministries.

The clips saw the groups performing the ‘zumba’, among other things, while standing meters apart from each other in accordance with ‘new normal’ physical distancing rules.

The videos also show some participants exercising in facemasks while others did not.

Naturally, the aerobics session had netizens questioning whether the indoor event had complied with pandemic standard operating procedures (SOP) set in the National Recovery Plan (PPN).

Netizens voiced concerns over the safety of such an indoor event, especially since having good ventilation is key in preventing the spread of Covid-19.

While some had accused the government of double standards, others moved to point to a Twitter comment made by Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin on 4 October when he said that he was unconvinced over the level of SOP compliance at indoor social gatherings.

KJ basically said that such events would be among the lasts things to be allowed to ‘reopen’ in the PPN.

Evidently, social events and gatherings, such as weddings, reunions, retreats, parties and even meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibitions (MICE) events, are still currently marked down in the ‘negative list’ of prohibited activities.

So did the indoor National Sports Day event complied with SOPs?

According to the official Phase 3 PPN SOP released by the National Security Council (MKN) on 8 October, the public is allowed to partake in all manner of physical contact or non-physical contact sports activities, either individually or in groups, indoors or outdoors from 6 am till midnight.

(Credit: Ahmad Zamzahuri/Malay Mail)

All indoor recreational activities must comply with rules that limit group participation to 50% of the venue space or not exceeding 250 people at a given time.

Additionally, organizing and participating in mass sports and recreational events is allowed with permission from the Youth and Sports Ministry.

Even spectators are allowed to join in such events, limited to 30% of a venue’s capacity.

Official government and private events are also allowed under the rules with a maximum of 50% of the event space capacity.

However, this allowance is only given to people who’ve completed their Covid-19 vaccinations, specifically, denizens over 18 years of age.

Parents and guardians who’ve been fully vaccinated can also bring along their children to attend such events and activities.

Yes, the indoor aerobic exercise did comply with the current health regulations as defined by the government.

But of course, SOPs like physical distancing and the wearing of face masks in a public setting are still to be strictly maintained.

Masks are a must in all public areas, crowded or not, except when:

  • You’re in hotel rooms or paid accommodations and involving household/family members.
  • You’re in a solitary private workspace.
  • During your outdoor sports and recreational activities.
  • In your personal vehicles with members of the same household.
  • When you’re at an indoor or outdoor public area and places without the presence of other individuals.
  • While you’re eating or drinking in public without any other individuals (other than in restaurants or food premises).

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