PUTRAJAYA, Feb 17 — Malaysia will practice the World Health Organization’s (WHO) exit strategy recommendations to end its lockdown, Health Minister Dr Adham Baba said.
The WHO’s first recommendation before lifting a lockdown is ensuring that transmission of Covid-19 is under control. Senior Defence Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob announced yesterday that the Movement Control Order (MCO) would be maintained on Selangor, Kuala Lumpur, Johor, and Penang until March 4, while the more relaxed Conditional Movement Control Order (CMCO) would be imposed on the rest of the country, except for Perlis under the Recovery Movement Control Order (RMCO).
“Second, the health system and public system is not under stress. Now, we are not under stress already. We can admit (patients) in low-risk quarantine centres (PKRC), we can admit in hospitals,” Dr Adham told CodeBlue in an interview at his office last week.
“Only our intensive care unit beds (and patients on) ventilators are high because we had a high number of cases before this.”
The third recommendation made by WHO is minimising Covid-19 hotspot risks in highly vulnerable places, such as nursing homes, followed by establishing preventive measures such as physical distancing and handwashing in workplaces.
“Number five, control and manage new imported cases. That’s why I proposed bubble travel,” Dr Adham added.
“We can invite investors to come to our country to invest, but they must come with special bubble travel.”
From February 9 onwards, ministers who return from overseas are allowed a three-day quarantine period instead of the usual 10 days, provided they follow a strict bubble itinerary. A bubble itinerary means limiting meetings to work purposes only. Dr Adham said this is the first step to allow investors to travel to Malaysia.
The sixth recommendation made by WHO is that the population be fully engaged, understand, and empowered to live under a new state of “normality”.
“The most important strategy is community empowerment, self-regulation, adherence to the standard operating procedures (SOP). That is very important,” Dr Adham told CodeBlue.