KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 2 — The second Movement Control Order (MCO) will be extended across the country, except several areas in Sarawak, for another two weeks until February 18.
Stricter movement restrictions during the country’s second lockdown amid a surging Covid-19 epidemic will coincide with Chinese New Year celebrations that fall on February 12.
The MCO implemented from January 13 — the second since the seven-week MCO in March last year — failed to reduce Covid-19 cases. Daily infections in the country have been increasing from 2,985 cases on January 13 to more than 3,000 a day since, even reaching highs of more than 5,000 daily for three consecutive days.
“Bans on inter-state travel and social events will continue,” Senior Defence Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob said today in a press conference.
According to Ismail Sabri, Malaysia currently has a high Covid-19 positive rate, between 20 and 40 per cent among active clusters. A positive rate, or share of tests that are positive, exceeding 5 per cent means that there are many more undetected Covid-19 infections.
“Besides that, sporadic cases in the community are also high, which involve citizens and foreigners,” Ismail Sabri said.
The minister also mentioned that selected businesses will operate as usual, especially small businesses, to reduce the probability of low-income earners being hit by poverty.
“The Ministry of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs has stated that the supply of essential items is enough to cater the people.”
At the same time, Ismail Sabri said that further standard operating procedures (SOPs) will be announced soon.
It is to be noted that MCO 2.0, which was planned to end on January 26, was extended by nine days initially, until February 4.
As of yesterday, the country has recorded a total of 219,173 Covid-19 infections, including 48,074 active cases.