CMCO Is Indeed Malaysia’s ‘Soft Landing’: Health DG

Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah expects to see the impact of the Conditional Movement Control Order (CMCO) within two weeks.

KUALA LUMPUR, May 8 — The Ministry of Health (MOH) reiterated today that Malaysia was not exiting a lockdown, but that the Conditional Movement Control Order (CMCO) upholded the conditions needed to do so.

Medical professionals, Opposition lawmakers, and patients have criticised the Muhyiddin administration for reopening the economy and loosening movement restrictions on May 4 under the CMCO, describing it as a “crash landing” as opposed to Health director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah’s previous touting of a “soft landing” approach amid the Covid-19 epidemic.

“When we talk about soft landing, it is a plan for exit strategy. At the moment, we are not actually in the exit strategy. We are only easing the restrictions of MCO (Movement Control Order).

“And we came up with the Conditional MCO — this is indeed the soft landing,” Dr Noor Hisham told a press conference today.

He also explained that the six measures that MOH currently follows are in line with the World Health Organization’s (WHO) six criteria for ending a lockdown:

  1. Border control is still in place and is being tightened.
  2. Monitoring of cases is still ongoing daily while the public is informed of the country’s cumulative Covid-19 cases, active cases, and deaths.
  3. The public is informed of MOH hospitals’ capacity and the public health response to Covid-19, especially in areas under the Enhanced Movement Control Order (EMCO) and cluster areas.
  4. An action plan has been created with the Department of Social Welfare (JKM) to protect the elderly and high-risk groups.
  5. The public is engaged and empowered to follow MOH’s standard operating procedures (SOPs), especially for workers going to work and for those in the education sectors to stay home.
  6. The community is empowered to take action on those who do not comply with the SOPs.

“As I look into MCO 1, the compliance was very high at 90 per cent, but still you have 5 per cent not complying to MCO. Likewise, we expect the majority of the public to comply with this conditional MCO,” said Dr Noor Hisham.

He explained yesterday that the government has only restarted the economy with CMCO, highlighting that further monitoring of the Covid-19 situation in the country is necessary before Malaysia can fully end the lockdown.

“We hope that we will know the effect after two weeks. For example, we’re monitoring every day to see whether we can achieve the target, or we can succeed in terms of maintaining and controlling the cases. So maybe perhaps another week or two we can see the effect,” said Dr Noor Hisham today.

He also previously mentioned that the Covid-19 situation in Malaysia would be deemed to be under control if the daily new Covid-19 cases remains in the double digits and continues to decrease, which will then allow for more and more business sectors to reopen.

The coronavirus infections in the country has mostly been below 100 every day since April 17, although the double-digit streak was broken on May 2 and 3, with 105 and 122 cases reported respectively.

MOH reported 68 new Covid-19 cases today, including four imported cases, which means that 64 are local transmissions, including three from EMCO areas. Community transmissions are at 61 today.

Foreign nationals comprised 57 of the 68 new Covid-19 cases today. A coronavirus cluster among workers at a factory in Pedas, Negri Sembilan, saw 60 testing positive for the virus, including 53 immigrants. MOH yesterday reported a Covid-19 cluster involving security guards at a shopping centre in Cheras here, comprising nine Nepali nationals and one Malaysian.

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