PM announces nationwide MCO to prevent national crisis

Drastic decision also due to new variants with higher infection rates, growing constraints on public healthcare capacity and weak SOP compliance

by AZREEN HANI / pic by BERNAMA

MALAYSIA will undergo another nationwide Movement Control Order (MCO) from May 12 until June 7, Prime Minister (PM) Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin announced yesterday.

Muhyiddin said the government had to take more firm and stringent measures to prevent the Covid-19 third-wave infections from dragging the country into a national crisis.

“With a daily case count of over 4,000 cases and 37,396 active cases with 1,700 deaths reported as of May 10, 2021, Malaysia is facing a third wave of Covid-19 infections that can trigger a national crisis,” the PM said in a statement yesterday.

“Data and science continued to show that assembly activities that made social distancing difficult and the presence of people in congested spaces are major causes of Covid-19 transmission.

“The infection chain of Covid-19 can only be broken by encouraging the people to stay at home through strict movement controls,” Muhyiddin added.

He said the drastic decision was also made due to the existence of new variants with higher infection rates, growing constraints on the public healthcare system’s capacity and weak compliance to the standard operating procedures (SOPs) by some segments of the society.

“During this period, all economic sectors are allowed to operate,” Muhyiddin said in a statement.

Muhyiddin had said in March that the government is not looking at a blanket MCO, but will focus on a targeted approach in Malaysia’s battle with Covid-19.

However, the number of Covid patients in the intensive care units continued to increase, with a record high of 434 yesterday, out of which 224 patients are being intubated.

During the MCO period, all interstate travel will not be allowed, except for emergencies, health, work, economic purposes, vaccination appointments and long-distance marriage.

It is also mandatory for employers to enforce a work-from-home policy at the workplace with not more than 30% of management staff on-premise at any one time.

All forms of social gathering are prohibited.

Aidilfitri prayers in mosques and suraus will be limited to only 50 people for premises that can fit more than 1,000 congregants. Only 20 people are allowed in smaller mosques and suraus that can fit less than 1,000 people.

The SOPs for non-Muslim houses of worship will also be tightened, pending an announcement from the National Unity Ministry. Marriage ceremonies are allowed, but the number of attendants and SOPs are determined by the respective state religious authorities and the National Registration Department for non-Muslims.

All sports and recreational activities, except non contact sports such as jogging, cycling and personal workouts at open areas, are prohibited.

All educational institutions are closed with exceptions for students who will sit for international examinations.

Only three people are allowed in private vehicles, taxis and e-hailing including the driver.

For Sabah, Sarawak and Labuan, specific measures will continue, Muhyiddin said.