Post-MCO measures being drafted to avoid relapse

by ALIFAH ZAINUDDIN/ pic by RAZAK GHAZALI

THE National Security Council is drafting measures to contain the spread of the coronavirus after the end of the Movement Control Order (MCO) to stop any relapse caused by another outbreak.

Senior Minister (Security Cluster) Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said the council, alongside the Home Affairs Ministry, will issue new directives that will guide public movement and business operations even if the MCO is not extended further. The MCO is scheduled to end on April 14.

“We know people are getting restless of being confined to their homes and we are trying to help them. At the same time, we have to carefully study the impacts of loosening the measures under MCO.

“The government is looking into this in detail. We don’t want our efforts for the past month to go to waste and we don’t want to reverse any decision to suspend the MCO,” Ismail Sabri told reporters yesterday.

The minister said a relapse may see a longer and stricter lockdown period.

“It is best if we could all return to our normal lives and not have another round of MCO. We will get back to this and announce details of the new measures soon,” he said.

Countries across Asia that appeared to have brought the Covid-19 pandemic under control are now tightening their borders and imposing a more rigid set of containment measures amid fears of a new wave of infections.

They include Hong Kong and Singapore. Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has declared a state of emergency across several regions in the country, including Tokyo and Osaka, over a spike in Covid-19 infections.

Ismail Sabri had earlier announced a fourth Enhanced MCO (EMCO) on two buildings — the Selangor Mansion and Malayan Mansion — in Jalan Masjid India, Kuala Lumpur (KL).

The decision was made upon the advice of the Ministry of Health after 15 positive Covid-19 cases were recorded at both premises.

He said the EMCO will affect around 6,000 residents in 365 residential and commercial units in the two buildings. It will end after all residents are screened within the EMCO period.

Three other areas that have also been placed under EMCO due to high numbers of positive cases, namely Simpang Renggam in Kluang, Johor; Hulu Langat in Selangor; and Menara City One on Jalan Munshi Abdullah in KL.

Fresh directives on movement curbs in different hotspots will be introduced as well, Ismail Sabri said. Several districts, including Putrajaya, have recently been classified as red zones.

“We want the directives to be as clear as possible for different zones. There are green zones where zero cases have been reported.

“If we loosen restriction at green zones, does it mean people in red zones are allowed to work in green zones? These are things we have to consider,” he said.

As of April 6, a total of 6,452 individuals have been arrested since the MCO began on March 18.

On Monday, 403 were arrested of which 347 were remanded, while 56 made bail. Additionally, the national crime index has also witnessed a decline by 70% throughout the MCO period.