KUALA LUMPUR, April 15 — Health Minister Dr Adham Baba has gazetted a regulation that allows people to travel more than 10km from their homes for health care, if medical services are unavailable within that distance.
The Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases (Measures within Local Infected Areas) (No 3) Regulations 2020 gazetted yesterday, which take effect from today until April 28, also states the same condition for purchasing medicine, dietary supplements, food, or daily necessities.
Section 4(1)(b) of the regulation states that when seeking health care or medical services, one can only move within a radius of not more than 10km from their residence, “or to a place nearest to his residence if health care or medical services are not available at a place within a radius of not more than ten kilometres from his residence”.
The regulation applies similar wording to buying food, medicine, dietary supplements, or daily necessities.
One can be accompanied by another person when seeking medical treatment, but this is prohibited for buying medicine and other goods, unless such accompaniment is “reasonably necessary”.
A previous regulation on the Movement Control Order (MCO) from April 1 to 14 did not specify that one could travel beyond 10km from their residence to seek medical treatment if health care services were unavailable within that distance. The regulation said only that people could move within a radius of not more than 10km from their homes, “or to a place nearest to his residence”.
After the regulation on Phase 2 of the nationwide partial lockdown was gazetted on March 31, a non-governmental organisation (NGO) complained about cancer patients who were allegedly turned around at police roadblocks, despite possessing letters for treatment.
The Sarawak and Sabah state governments also waived the 10km rule for health care purposes, as medical facilities are rarely found within that distance from people’s homes in the two largest states in Malaysia.
Dr Adham and Senior Defence Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob subsequently assured Malaysians that police had the discretion to allow patients to travel beyond 10km when seeking treatment or buying medicine.
The third phase of the MCO has been imposed from today until April 28, amid the Covid-19 epidemic in Malaysia that has infected nearly 5,000 people and killed 82.