MoH, NSC to discuss interstate border control

Up to 2,931 vehicles attempt to travel interstate in the past 3 days to celebrate the upcoming Aidilfitri with their family members in hometowns

by NUR HAZIQAH A MALEK & S BIRRUNTHA/ pic by MUHD AMIN NAHARUL

THE Health Ministry (MoH) and the National Security Council (NSC) will further discuss ways to enforce interstate border control due to the alarming state of interstate travel.

Health DG Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said there might be consideration towards implementing summons to resolve this matter.

“The increase in people who want to travel interstate in the past three days has increased drastically due to the festive season. However, there is little that the enforcement can do except asking them to turn back.

“Therefore, we will be discussing with NSC tomorrow (May 19) on other methods to reinforce our current border control,” he said during the Covid-19 updates briefing yesterday.

He added that to break the transmission of the virus, individuals and families are advised to only celebrate the upcoming Hari Raya Aidilfitri behind closed doors at home.

“Just for this year, we advise you to not visit external families and friends to further reduce the infection.

“Covid-19 is still very much present within our community, therefore it is still possible for us to spread the virus around and infect high-risk individuals,” he said.

It was reported that up to 2,931 vehicles attempted to travel interstate to return to their hometowns in the past three days to celebrate the upcoming Hari Raya Aidilfitri with their family.

“This is a concern, especially when we combine the figure with the students returning from their tertiary-level institutions,” he said.

Since April 27, the Higher Education Ministry has sent as many as 49,019 students home to their families.

Students, who travelled interstate in the Peninsular, were made to self-isolate in their homes for 14 days upon arrival, while students returning to Sabah or Sarawak were required to undergo Covid-19 screening test.

Furthermore, he said the ministry has ended its monitoring of a few clusters.

“This includes the Istana Negara cluster and the Pengerang cluster, which involved 22 cases and 15 cases respectively,” he said, adding that both clusters did not record any death.

Meanwhile, the Pudu cluster, which is an active cluster, has seen a rise of 17 new cases, and no deaths recorded to date.

As of yesterday, 47 new positive cases were reported, comprising 21 import cases and 26 occurring from local transmissions, bringing the active cases to 1,213.

Out of the active cases, 13 are currently undergoing treatment in the intensive care unit, while six require respiratory aid.

Forty-four patients had recovered and discharged yesterday, bringing the number of recovered cases to 5,615.

Meanwhile, Malaysian manufacturers have ramped up their efforts in producing up to five million pieces of personal protective equipment (PPE), further increasing their capacity.

Malaysian Plastics Manufacturers Association (MPMA) president Datuk Lim Kok Boon said the national manufacturing sector takes pride in its ability to support the nation in the battle against the Covid-19 pandemic.

“The sector has demonstrated that we can expand our capacity further and adapt in a critical stage,” he said in a statement yesterday.

Last month, at the peak of Covid- 19 infections, three million key PPEs were required, including isolation gowns, boot covers, jump-suits, head covers, face shields and aprons.

Lim also assured that hospitals nationwide would always have access to almost all of the PPEs that they require, since they are produced locally.

MPMA member, Fibertex Personal Care Sdn Bhd, which has been made the principal supplier of non-woven materials, would allocate 10 million sq m a month for PPEs.

Another member, San Miguel Yamamura Woven Products Sdn Bhd would also allocate coating capacity for 3.5 million sq m a month.

MPMA said these capacities are sufficient to produce five million pieces of PPEs for MoH, as well as other private healthcare institutions in Malaysia.

It added that all non-woven materials, both coated and uncoated, would then be handed to members of the Federation of Malaysian Fashion and Textile Association for cutting and sewing.