KUALA LUMPUR, April 22 – The Ministry of Health (MOH) said today it would advise the prime minister on the status of the Movement Control Order (MCO) a few days before it is scheduled to end on April 28.
Health director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah also mentioned that the government may open up more industries, but all of the industries may need to practice new norms of social distancing, frequent hand-washing, and avoiding large gatherings.
“Two to three or four days before the end of April 28, we’ll advise the prime minister based on our modelling and facts and figures that we have, and based on the advisory from WHO (World Health Organization), and customize the advisory according to our local needs,” he told a press conference.
“That’s how we’ll put up the framework. The framework comes from MOH, but to fill in the blanks, we need to empower the employer to follow requirements that MOH has provided.”
He mentioned that the second wave of Covid-19 cases in Malaysia has caused the government to focus on priorities.
“We started an essential list for the economic sector. Now maybe we have to open up industries, but they have to follow the new norms — no social gathering, social distancing, make sure they comply and maintain good personal hygiene. All that we put in place.
“We’ll continue to adapt and implement in terms of looking into a targeted approach. If there’s an outbreak in certain areas, then we’ll come in to look into an MCO, enhance the movement control in that region, and we screen everybody there. It can apply to a department, factory, or a group of people.”
Yesterday, the Health DG outlined six criteria that are to be met if the government intends to remove the MCO.
The six criteria are border controls to prevent imported Covid-19 cases; movement control, like banning mass gatherings; a strong health care system with sufficient beds and ventilators; protection of the vulnerable, like senior citizens, disabled people, cancer patients, and those with underlying health conditions; new behaviours practiced by the people, like social distancing and frequent hand-washing; and controlling Covid-19 clusters in the community.
MOH’s framework in ending the MCO mirrors the WHO’s new guidance for governments looking for exit strategies beyond existing lockdown measures, released a week ago.
Six criteria were identified in WHO’s guidance document to ensure that governments would be able to manage a controlled and deliberate transition from community transmission to a steady state of low level or no transmission.
As at 12pm today, Malaysia recorded 50 new cases, bringing the total number of Covid-19 cases to 5,532. One death was recorded today, bringing the total death toll due to Covid-19 to 93.