MOH Discourages Interstate Travel, While MPs Can Visit Constituencies Weekly

The Health DG highlighted the case of a woman who infected four family members with Covid-19 upon travelling to her hometown in Kelantan from Selangor.

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 5 — The Ministry of Health (MOH) has advised people from red zones and Conditional Movement Control (CMCO) areas not to cross borders, as they may be asymptomatic carriers of Covid-19.

MOH’s advisory came even as 222 Members of Parliament — attending the third Dewan Rakyat meeting in Kuala Lumpur this year from last Monday until December 15 — are permitted to return to their constituencies across the country every weekend in between sittings. Dewan Rakyat sits Mondays to Thursdays.

Federal lawmakers are only subject to Covid-19 testing every fortnight, while Sabah MPs are subject to the additional requirement of 14-day quarantine in the capital city if they travel to their constituencies and back to Parliament.

“If possible, avoid interstate or inter-district travel. Because we are in the Klang Valley, a CMCO area, let us not carry the infection back to our hometown, or to a green zone,” Health director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said at a daily conference reporting on Malaysia’s Covid-19 cases today.

“Although we may not have symptoms, but we know 60 to 70 per cent of those infected do not have symptoms, so we can infect green zone areas.

“This has happened — there was one case, the individual went back to Kelantan and infected four other family members,” Dr Noor Hisham added.

He was referring to the case reported yesterday of a nurse working in Selangor who returned to her hometown in Jeli, Kelantan, and transmitted Covid-19 to a 22-day-old baby (her niece), her 75-year-old grandmother, her mother, and her sibling. Harian Metro reported that the nurse had visited Kuala Balah, Jeli, last month before returning to Selangor and was later found positive with Covid-19.

Earlier today, Senior Defence Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob announced that during the upcoming Deepavali festival that will be celebrated on November 14, inter-district and interstate travel involving CMCO and Enhanced Movement Control Order (EMCO) areas is prohibited.

Currently, Klang Valley has been put under CMCO until November 9. Ismail Sabri, however, did not state if the CMCO in Klang Valley will be extended after November 9. As of today, most districts in Selangor and Kuala Lumpur are red. In Selangor, only three districts are yellow (Kuala Selangor, Hulu Selangor, and Sabak Bernam). In the capital city, just Lembah Pantai is yellow. Putrajaya is orange.

Today, Arau MP Shahidan Kassim suggested to the Dewan Rakyat for all MPs to be isolated in a quarantine centre and transported to Parliament for daily sittings as he said that each week, MPs go back to their respective constituencies. Some MPs go back to red zones and may bring back the virus to Parliament or the other way round, Shahidan said.

However, Redzuan Md Yusof, who is a minister in the Prime Minister’s Department in charge of special functions, dismissed his suggestion and said that each MP will be swabbed every two weeks and the parliamentary sitting time will be shortened till 2pm from next week onwards, while only 80 MPs are allowed in chambers at a time during each daily sitting from tomorrow onwards.

Under the CMCO in Kuala Lumpur, Selangor, and Putrajaya, no inter-district or interstate travel is allowed unless a permission letter or a work pass from one’s employer is given to authorities. MPs, however, are allowed to travel back to their constituencies using their Parliament letter on the dates of the current Dewan Rakyat meeting.

Sandakan MP Vivian Wong told CodeBlue that Sabah MPs are allowed to travel back to their constituencies, but they will have to be quarantined for 14 days upon arrival in Kuala Lumpur.

“We opted not to go back because we don’t want to miss 14 days (of) Parliament,” she told CodeBlue.

Bandar Kuching MP Dr Kelvin Yii told CodeBlue that Sarawakian MPs are exempted from 14-day quarantine in Sarawak upon arrival; they are not subject to quarantine in Kuala Lumpur upon travelling back from Sarawak for Parliament.

He said he would not be returning to Kuching this weekend.

When a reporter asked Dr Noor Hisham on the reduction in the number of MPs per Dewan Rakyat sitting, the Health DG said that it is a preventive measure taken to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

Dr Noor Hisham said if each MP brings their own assistant, there will be over 400 people in Parliament, not including the staff that already work in Parliament, plus staff from other ministries that occasionally have duties to carry out in Parliament.

“Although the standard operating procedure (SOP) is there, we can still improve our SOP. Our worry is the MPs come from all over the country. So, when they assemble in one area, although we have done a screening three days before the parliamentary sitting, they are still exposed to the community now,” Dr Noor Hisham said.

Dr Noor Hisham also said today that MOH does not only depend on the colours of zones to implement any form of movement control order.

In fact, he said MOH carries out various assessments according to the colour of the zones, doubling time of cases, the area itself, logistics etc to decide if there is a need to implement a movement control order.

Currently, there are four colors used to label a zone. Green zone for no cases, yellow zone for one to 20 cases, orange zone: 21 to 40 cases, and red zone for 41 cases and above.

National Covid-19 Highlights

Malaysia recorded 1,009 positive Covid-19 cases today, bringing the cumulative cases reported so far to 36,434 cases.

The breakdown the 1,000 locally transmitted cases according to states is as below:

  • Sabah: 564 cases
  • Selangor: 177 cases
  • Labuan: 92 cases
  • Negri Sembilan: 90 cases
  • Penang: 36 cases
  • Kuala Lumpur: 14 cases
  • Kedah: seven cases
  • Sarawak: six cases
  • Perak: six cases
  • Melaka: five cases
  • Johor: two cases
  • Putrajaya: one case

Six new deaths were reported today, bringing the total fatalities due to Covid-19 to 277. Out of the six cases, five were reported in Sabah while one was reported in Selangor.

MOH also reported five new clusters today. Details of each cluster is as below:

  • Sutera Cluster in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah (detected during a symptomatic screening)
  • Ria-30 cluster in Tuaran, Sabah (detected during a community screening)
  • Tamar cluster in Petaling, Selangor (detected during a symptomatic screening)
  • Intan cluster in Timur Laut, Penang (detected during pre-departure screening)
  • Danau cluster in Titiwangsa, Kuala Lumpur (detected during a symptomatic screening)

Currently, there are 10,503 active Covid-19 cases, including 78 patients in the intensive care unit, among which 28 of them are on ventilator support.

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