Medical Experts Urge Govt To Extend MCO Beyond Hari Raya To Avoid Balik Kampung Exodus

The group advises Malaysians to keep practising social distancing until a cure for COVID-19 is made available.

Cover image via BERITA Mediacorp & Aizuddin Saad/Harian Metro

The Academy of Medicine of Malaysia (AMM) is urging the government to extend the Movement Control Order (MCO) beyond the Hari Raya celebration, which falls on 24 May

The group of medicine experts warns that a mass balik kampung movement would worsen the COVID-19 pandemic in the country, risking the health of elderly people at home, reported Malaysiakini.

The AMM, which was set up in 1966 to provide authority and resource to the government and public in matters related to healthcare, said by allowing Malaysians to go back to their hometown, the country will break the social distancing practice, especially at recuperation stops along highways where travellers will definitely form a crowd.

"A premature withdrawal or excessive relaxation of MCO restrictions will potentially undo all the good that has been achieved from staying home these past four weeks," said the group in a statement last night, 8 April.

"The war against COVID-19 is far from over - many sacrifices have and will continue to be made this year."

The group added that it is not only subject to Hari Raya, but also the following celebrations such as Harvest Festival and Hari Gawai, which fall on 30 May and 1 June respectively

The group said Malaysians need to continue adhering to social distancing practice until a cure is made available.

"The COVID-19 pandemic has made it necessary for social distancing to be the new norm for at least a period of time until the situation is well under control," the academy explained.

"For this year at least, be it Ramadan, Aidilfitri, or even Haj gatherings - there is a need for control, monitoring, and possible banning of these gatherings."

The phase two of the MCO is set to expire on 14 April

New Straits Times reported that the government is expected to announce whether or not to extend the MCO on Friday, 10 April.

As of yesterday, Malaysia's total cumulative COVID-19 cases surpassed the 4,000 mark, with 65 deaths.

Of the 4,119 cases, 1,321 patients - or 36.1% of the total cases - have made full recovery. 

Remember to #JustStayAtHome. Watch the latest update on the COVID-19 situation:

[LIVE] Press Conference by MOH on COVID-19 | April 8, 2020

[LIVE] Health director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah’s press conference on the latest COVID-19 updates.

Posted by SAYS on Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Meanwhile, Ramadan bazaars have been cancelled in the Federal Territories this year:

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