Nearly 90pc Malaysians Follow Movement Restrictions: Health DG

Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah expects Covid-19 to remain in the community for at least one to two years.

KUALA LUMPUR, May 12 — Health director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah expressed certainty that Covid-19 cases in Malaysia would continue to decrease if the public practiced safe distancing.

He cited statistics from Inspector-General of Police Abdul Hamid Bador that Malaysians’ compliance with movement restriction measures has hit almost 90 per cent.

“If our industry, our supermarkets comply to the SOP (standard operating procedures) given by the Ministry of Health (MOH), I am sure we can bring down the cases further,” Dr Noor Hisham told a press conference today.

“If all of us put our efforts, I’m sure we can do it.”

MOH reported a new low of only 16 new Covid-19 cases in the country today, as Malaysia ends the first phase of the Conditional Movement Control Order (CMCO) that was implemented on May 4, where most business sectors were allowed to reopen in restarting the economy.

A surge in Covid-19 cases, however, has been observed in countries like South Korea and Germany as these countries ease their movement restrictions, prompting the question on whether Malaysia will face a second wave of the coronavirus.

“Many countries are worried about a second wave and we are equally worried about the same. Today we have seen the success of MCO 1, 2, 3, and 4, which means that our implementation has managed to flatten the curve, and we managed to bring down the 3-figure to 2-figure. This is the lowest that we have ever achieved,” said Dr Noor Hisham.

He further added that the country has been doing very well in the battle against Covid-19, where out of the 16 new cases reported today, three are imported cases with 13 local transmissions. However, MOH pointed out that nine out of the 13 cases involve foreign workers, which means that there are only four transmissions among Malaysians since yesterday.

“What we see today is the result from what we had planned from 14 days ago. We hope that we can continue to have a low figure, double digit figure, and hopefully from there we can bring down local transmission as fast and as good as possible,” explained Dr Noor Hisham.

According to him, MOH has so far screened 25,156 foreigners for Covid-19, of which 1,211 (or 4.8 per cent) tested positive. Nearly 41 per cent, or 495 of them, are being treated in hospital.

Three foreigners are in the intensive care unit (ICU), while 58.8 per cent (or 712 people) have recovered from the viral infection. Four foreign nationals have succumbed to Covid-19.

MOH continued to reiterate the importance of adhering to the standard operating procedures (SOP) set by the authorities as Malaysians begin to live with the “new normal”.

“The coronavirus will be in the community for a long time, for at least one or two years,” said Dr Noor Hisham.

Personal protective measures such as proper hand-washing with soap and water or hand sanitisers, safe distancing, and wearing a face mask when in public or crowded places are going to be the basics of living in this “new normal”, as explained by the Health director-general.

Daily maximum Covid-19 testing capacity at MOH laboratories as of May 11 is reported to be at 20,635 samples. As of yesterday, 17,788 tests were run, which was at 86 per cent of the maximum testing capacity.

The total number of Covid-19 cases in Malaysia is 6,742. Zero deaths were reported today; the total number of fatalities from Covid-19 as of today is 109.

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