PUTRAJAYA: The government of Malaysia has decided to extend the Movement Control Order (MCO) by another two weeks, from April 15 to 28, said Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.
When announcing this today, he said this decision was taken to give space to healthcare personnel battling the COVID-19 outbreak, apart from preventing the virus from spreading again.
“This action is in line with the view of WHO (World Health Organisation), which suggested that countries should not end the movement control order too early, and has happened in several countries, the spread of the disease increased again when the order was lifted,” he said in his special address which was carried live on national television.
The MCO, aimed at breaking the COVID-19 chain of infection, was first enforced in Malaysia from March 18 to 31 before it was extended into phase two, from April 1 to 14.
The prime minister said Malaysia could not afford to view the situation lightly although the latest reports showed that the implementation of the MCO had helped healthcare personnel to contain the spread of COVID-19 to a level that is quite stable.
In fact, Muhyiddin said, efforts to fight the outbreak should be intensified to break the chain of transmission, including by focusing on target groups identified as the source of the spread of the disease.
He said projections by the Malaysian Ministry of Health (MOH) showed that the MCO, which has been in force for almost a month, had somewhat reduced the rate of infection and spread of COVID-19.
He said the efforts undertaken had resulted in positive cases being brought under control at 7 per cent, which is below the benchmark of 7 per cent set by WHO.
Muhyiddin said the fatality rate in Malaysia was also low, at 1.6 per cent compared to 5.8 per cent at the global level, while 43 per cent or 1,830 of the COVID-19 patients in the country had recovered and been discharged from hospitals.