NSC Mulls Free Movement Between Green Districts, States For Tourism

The Tourism Ministry has proposed free movement within and between green zones.

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 16 — The National Security Council (NSC) is considering the Tourism Ministry’s suggestions for free movement within “green” districts, as well as between “green” districts or states.

The “green” classification in the Ministry of Health’s (MOH) moving charts refers to districts that have reported zero new Covid-19 cases in the past 14 days. The colour zoning is applied to large districts in each state in the federal MOH’s updates, although individual state health departments also publish Covid-19 statistics and colour zones according to sub-district (mukim).

Lembah Pantai MP Fahmi Fadzil complained earlier today about the lack of Covid-19 case figures according to sub-districts in Kuala Lumpur, unlike other states, pointing out that the capital city has more than 1.8 million residents and contributes 16 per cent of Malaysia’s gross domestic product.

Just a single new Covid-19 case reported in an entire district, however, is sufficient to turn the federal colour zone for that district into “yellow”. “Yellow” denotes one to 20 new Covid-19 cases reported in the past 14 days; “orange” denotes 21 to 40 cases; while “red” signifies 41 cases and above.

“For example, if Langkawi is green, and Sabak Bernam in Selangor is green, there was a proposal to allow movement between green and green. Sabak Bernam people can go to Langkawi — that was a suggestion,” Senior Defence Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob told a press conference today.

“There are two categories [under consideration]: free movement within green [districts], and between a green state and another green state, like Pahang and Kelantan, free in terms of movement, and secondly, between green districts.”

Ismail Sabri was responding to a reporter who asked if the government would relax standard operating procedures (SOPs), such as the three-person limit on private vehicles, in green” districts like Langkawi, so that families can bring their children out on cable car rides, for example.

According to MOH’s 14-day moving chart yesterday, Langkawi was classified “yellow”, with one new local coronavirus infection reported in the past fortnight. According to the Kedah state health department, however, Langkawi was classified “green” as of yesterday, despite reporting one active case in the sub-district of Ulu Melaka on the island.

According to federal MOH, Sabak Bernam is the only “green” district in Selangor, with most other districts in the country’s most developed state classified “red”. All four districts in the state capital of Kuala Lumpur are “red”.

“However, we must first discuss detailed SOP. Those who come from Sabak Bernam, for example, how can they travel to Langkawi? How do we differentiate between people who come from Sabak Bernam or Klang, which is ‘red’?” said Ismail Sabri.

The country’s main airports — Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) and Kuala Lumpur International Airport 2 (klia2) — are both located in Sepang, which is “red” with 311 local Covid-19 infections reported in the past 14 days. Klang has reported 882 locally transmitted coronavirus cases in the same period.

Ismail Sabri said the Conditional Movement Control Order (CMCO) — which has been imposed on nearly the entire peninsula, except for Perlis, Pahang, and Kelantan — may be lifted from Kedah earlier than December 6, depending on advice from health authorities. The CMCO generally prohibits inter-district and inter-state travel, except for work purposes, besides imposing other movement restrictions like a maximum of three people allowed in a car, or a four-person limit per table in restaurants.

“If not, maybe we’ll accept suggestions from the Tourism Ministry, and people can move around. We’re discussing these issues to reduce movement restrictions”.

According to CodeBlue’s calculations, the average daily Covid-19 cases in the Klang Valley region of Selangor, Kuala Lumpur, and Putrajaya, including imported infections, have been consistently rising every week for the past five weeks:

  • Week 1 (Oct 3-9): 38 average daily cases
  • Week 2 (Oct 10-16): 83 average daily cases
  • Week 3 (Oct 17-23): 129 average daily cases
  • Week 4 (Oct 24-30): 137 average daily cases
  • Week 5 (Oct 31-Nov 6): 177 average daily cases
  • Week 6 (Nov 7-13): 265 average daily cases

Malaysia reported 1,114 new Covid-19 cases on November 14, rising to 1,208 new infections yesterday.

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