By ALIFAH ZAINUDDIN / pic by BERNAMA
The government has extended the Movement Control Order (MCO) another two weeks until April 28 as the country continues to battle “against the virus” which has killed more than 95,000 worldwide.
The MCO was due to end next Tuesday but would be extended until April 28 despite the success of curbing the spread of the pandemic.
Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin (picture) said: “The war on Covid-19 is not yet over. The fight is still on. We are doing well so far, so just uplift your spirit and continue to fight. If we persevere, God willing, we will win,” Muhyiddin said in a televised address today.
Muhyiddin said the MCO, which has been in place for nearly a month, has reduced the spread of the coronavirus in Malaysia.
The number of cases in the country continue to remain below the 10% benchmark set by the World Health Organisation, he said.
“The number of new cases has been declining over the past few days. If this downward trend continues in the next two weeks, we will be able to control this outbreak,” Muhyiddin said.e
Movements restriction orders have been in place in nationwide since March 18, after the number of coronavirus infections doubled to 435 in the three days before the MCO took effect.
Malaysia has sealed its borders and halted all non-essential economic activities.
As of noon yesterday, Malaysia had 4,228 confirmed cases and 67 deaths. Global coronavirus cases have surpassed over 1.5 million and deaths at over 95,800 worldwide.
Muhyiddin said the government will reopen some sectors in stages to offset some of the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
A special Cabinet committee, led by Senior Ministers Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali and Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob, will decide the sectors which will be allowed to operate under a strict guidelines.
“I want to emphasise that the opening of some sectors does not mean that we are loosening the MCO.
“The restrictions continue to be in force and all instructions issued by the authority must be obeyed. If the company violates the rule, the government will retract the exemption,” Muhyiddin said.
The list of sectors will be announced by the government soon.
Schools will remain closed indefinitely until the situation returns to normal.
The local stock market was in negative territory today, with the FTSE Bursa Malaysia KLCI down 0.92% or 12.63 points at 1,357.13 as at 4.25pm.
The public health crisis has come at the expense of the country’s economy. Many businesses have been forced to close shop, while those allowed to operate are not running at full capacity. As businesses take hits to their income stream, many workers are facing the prospect of getting laid off.
Malaysia is bracing for a recession this year, the first since the 2009 Asian Financial Crisis. The economy grew 4.3% last year.