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Over 70pc agreed to kindergarten, childcare centre re-opening: Minister

Rokiah Mahmud

A survey by the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports has revealed that over 70 per cent of parents and adults agreed for the re-opening of childcare centres and kindergartens, Minister of Health Dato Seri Setia Dr Haji Mohd Isham bin Haji Jaafar said during the daily press conference yesterday.

The minister assured that the implementation of standard operating procedures (SOPs) is fully monitored, including having fully vaccinated employees and a requirement for both staff and parents of children to take an antigen rapid test for COVID-19 at least once a week.

The minister added that if there was a detection of COVD-19 at the centre, both the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Education protocols to accommodate such a situation.

The re-opening of childcare centres will help working parents, many whom are required to work in the office during the Endemic Phase, said the minister.

The minister said while it is understandable for some parents to be concerned as it involves the safety of their children, who remain unvaccinated, “re-opening childcare centres and kindergartens” at a limited capacity (30 per cent) will be the best compromise.

The Sultanate has only approved vaccines for children aged 12-17, with those aged five-11 to be included in the vaccination programme this year.

“People must understand that during the Endemic Phase, most parents and their family members are required to work in the office,” he said, adding that, “not everyone can afford to have domestic helpers or drivers. We must consider their situations”.

The minister also said, “Some grandparents are not ready to look after children. Some are afraid of transmitting or getting infected with COVID-19.”

“The COVID-19 vaccines for children aged four and below are not available yet,” said the minister, adding that they do not have a timeline on its availability.

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