GEORGE TOWN: Although things have returned to some semblance of normalcy, health workers and frontliners say strict compliance with the standard operating procedure (SOP) is still a must in curbing the Covid-19 pandemic for 2022.

Assistant nurse educator Chen Huey Sze, 35, hopes everything will return to normal soon and wearing face masks in public would no longer be mandatory.

“That’s my new year wish, although I know we still have a long way to go.

“This year has been a tough one, but luckily, my team members and I have been supportive of each other.

“This is important, especially when our personal lives have been impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic.

“I could not spend as much time with my children and family like before.

“But thank God, my husband and family are quite understanding. Without their support, I wouldn’t be able to make it till today,” she said.

The pandemic has taught her to treasure her health and time spent with loved ones.

She said there were not many changes working at the hospital although the number of Covid-19 cases had gone down.

“As a frontliner, we are still working with PPE (personal protective equipment) on and strict SOP compliance to ensure we and our family are safe.

“After a year, we’ve learned a better way to reduce the risk of outbreak by using work bubbles and revising the SOP to ensure our patients are safe,” she said.

Penang Civil Defence Force operations officer Kapt Muhammad Aizat Abdul Ghani, 35, said adhering to the SOP was still important even if the person had taken the booster shot.

The workload of his men has been significantly reduced following the drop in Covid-19 cases and Covid-19-related deaths.

“Many officers and personnel have since returned to their original workplace,” he said.

Fire and Rescue Department member Siti Zauwiyah Ismail, 55, said her new year resolution was to see more fresh recruits being roped in.

“Covid-19 has put a lot of pressure on all of us. Without enough manpower, it is difficult to focus on other rescue work.

“We also need new equipment to work better, and that more officers and personnel be sent for training to better equip themselves for future operations,” she said.

A Penang Hospital ambulance driver, who wanted to be known as Kesavan, said the number of new Covid-19 cases at the hospital had reduced.

“I had fewer emergency trips now compared to last year. The number of patients brought in dead due to Covid-19 had also reduced,” he said.

Kesavan urged everyone to get their booster dose as soon as possible to better protect themselves and their loved ones.