Stay Home Even If MCO Lifted, Says MOH

Malaysia’s exit strategy for the lockdown should be reviewed every two weeks, says the Health DG.

KUALA LUMPUR, April 20 — The Ministry of Health (MOH) today advised Malaysians not to go out unnecessarily even if the Movement Control Order (MCO) ends on April 28 as scheduled.

Health director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said health authorities hoped to bring down the number of daily new Covid-19 cases to single-digits in a week, after reporting the lowest-ever increase today since March 12 at 36 cases.

“All of us need to work together and stay at home, even if we have removed the MCO,” he told a press conference.

He said the government was currently planning an exit strategy for the partial lockdown, which he described as a “soft landing” that should be reviewed every two weeks.

“We may take some time, three months, six months, our policy must change in terms of looking into no public gathering for example, and social distancing, and continuously remind the public to wash their hands, and more importantly to stay at home if you don’t have any business out in the public.”

Dr Noor Hisham also pointed out that sporadic Covid-19 cases without links to any clusters have been decreasing, based on MOH’s surveillance of people with severe acute respiratory infection (SARI) or influenza-like illnesses (ILI) in the community.

“That’s a good indication for us to plan for our actions in future,” he said. 

“What is important now is to reduce cases, but we can’t end cases. There may be a few isolated cases, like one or two sporadic cases.”

As long as a vaccine for Covid-19 is not available, which could take one to one and a half years to develop, Malaysians must change their way of life, he said.

Senior Defence Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob told a press conference earlier today that the government has yet to decide on whether to delay Hari Raya celebrations scheduled late next month, after Indonesia postponed its Hari Raya holidays to December to prevent the balik kampung exodus.

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