As Malaysia enters into the sixth and last week of its Movement Control Order (MCO), the government hasn't yet come to a decision about whether the MCO should be lifted on 28 April or extended
This is because the Ministry of Health (MOH) is "still monitoring all the data" and "there is a possibility that we cannot completely lift the MCO", according to Health director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah.
He emphasised on a "soft landing" approach as an exit strategy if the MCO is to be lifted.
Speaking to reporters during his daily COVID-19 press briefings, Dr Noor Hisham said that MOH has outlined six criteria that must be met before the government can lift the MCO.
The six criteria as outlined by MOH are:
- Security control
- Movement control
- The capability of Malaysia's healthcare system in terms of lab capability and having a sufficient number of wards and Intensive Care Units (ICU)
- Ability to protect the high-risk group
- Practise the new normal, and
- Implement preventive measures in the community
Of which, the most important ones are border and movement control
"If we loosen border control, there is a big chance that those from overseas who enter Malaysia may bring the virus," the Health D-G said while highlighting the importance to have stringent border control.
According to Dr Noor Hisham, border control will prevent the imported cases brought by Malaysians who returned from overseas from spreading the virus in the country.
18 of the 57 new cases recorded on Tuesday, 21 April, were imported from overseas. To date, a total of 95 Malaysians who returned from other countries have tested positive.
On the movement control, he said it prevents infection from one individual to another.
"If we stay at home, the probability of us getting infected is low. But if we go to a packed location, or to a gathering, for example, there is a higher probability to catch COVID-19," he said.
"If someone who is positive goes to such places and might spread it to a lot more people," he stressed, adding that perhaps those who are not related to the economic sector could remain at home.
On practising the new normal, Dr Noor Hisham said that this is where he needs the support of the people to be with the ministry
"The people should be with us in practising the new normal, such as social distancing, frequent handwashing, and avoid gatherings," he said during his press briefing yesterday.
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