Malaysia eases restrictions under MCO Phase 4


MALAYSIA has eased some movement restrictions imposed seven weeks ago to fight the spread of the coronavirus by allowing two members of a household to travel in a pair to shop for necessities.

The government has relaxed some measures under the fourth Movement Control Order (MCO) phase, which began yesterday, and will outline further guidelines on social gatherings and resumption of businesses after daily Covid-19 cases dropped to pre-MCO levels on Tuesday.

Under the Prevention and Control of Infection Diseases (Measures with Infected Local Areas) (No 4) Regulations 2020 that was gazetted on April 28, individuals who are out to buy groceries, medicine and other necessities are allowed to be accompanied by another member of the household.

The conditions maintain that travel should be within a 10km radius from a person’s home. Senior Minister (Security Cluster) Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob (picture) in his daily briefing yesterday, however, said the radius limit can be extended to the next nearest shop or medical facility.

“It was previously left to the police to decide whether to allow movements beyond a 10km radius. But now, if a person needs to go to the clinic which is 15km away from their house, that would be allowed.

“However, it should be the next nearest hospital or shop, if they are out to buy groceries. It shouldn’t be up to 30km away,” Ismail Sabri said. Others who allowed to travel include those who have an official duty and those who provide and procure services deemed as essential.

The list of essential services has been kept unchanged at 15 compared to the third MCO phase. They include food, healthcare, water, energy, security, sewerage, transportation, e-commerce, banking, hotels and logistics.

The country’s ability to flatten the Covid-19 infection curve in recent weeks has raised expectations that the government will further relax MCO rules gradually.

The government’s announcement on Tuesday that select industries are allowed to run at full capacity suggests that the government could be unveiling more steps on its exit strategy after more than a month under partial lockdown to contain the Covid-19 outbreak.

Ismail Sabri said Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Religious Affairs) Datuk Seri Zulkifli Mohamad Al-Bakri will elaborate further on the procedures for religious practices.

“There have been a lot of queries over whether Friday or tarawih prayers should be allowed if social distancing is practised,” he said. “The Youth and Sports Ministry is also expected to make a decision on the Malaysian Football League. It should be announced within the next few days,” he added.