KUALA LUMPUR (April 10): The government has decided to extend the Movement Control Order (MCO) by another two weeks to April 28. This is the second extension to the MCO, which was originally imposed for a two-week period from March 18 to March 31, but then extended to April 14.
While Malaysia’s efforts in battling the spread of Covid-19 are proving fruitful, the MCO must be extended further as a precautionary measure, says Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin in a live telecast today.
Malaysia's Covid-19 positive cases are now under control at 7%, which is below the 10% benchmark set by the World Health Organisation, he said, adding the death rate is also at a low 1.6% compared with the global rate of 5.7%.
This new extension will give more space to health workers to further combat the spread of the coronavirus, as well as to prevent the plague from returning to our community, Muhyiddin said.
“This is in line with the views of WHO, [which] has advised countries not to end their movement control orders too early. As has been the case in some countries, the spread of this plague increased again once the movement control orders were lifted.
“What I want to stress here is that we must be prepared to deal with this situation for a relatively longer period of time. It may take several months before we can really be sure that the outbreak has been overcome,” he said.
"Even then, our daily lives may not return to what it used to be. As long as this virus is still around, we must continue to have the habit of social distancing. We must always take care of our hygiene. Avoid gatherings. Avoid crowded places.
"The month of Ramadan is coming soon. We cannot go to the Ramadan bazaar to buy meals to break our fast. We cannot go to the mosque to pray. So pray at home with your family. We may not even be able to go back to our villages as usual," he said.
"Although this is hard to imagine, this is the reality we have to face," he added.
Schools will not reopen until situation have returned to normal
Schools, meanwhile, are not expected to reopen anytime soon. "We may have to postpone the school session until we are fully convinced that things have recovered," Muhyiddin said.
He said parents also prefer to have the school closure extended, based on comments he read on social media, as many are worried about their children's safety.
As such, he said a directive has been issued to the Ministry of Education to ensure home-based learning sessions are carried out during the MCO, "and maybe for a further period until schools reopen".
“Although it seems like our country is recovering from the pandemic, thanks to the various measures taken, we must remember that other countries around the world too are affected by the virus crisis including our neighbours.
“There are numerous lorong tikus (illegal routes) along our borders which are frequently used by illegal immigrants to enter our country. If we don’t tighten our border controls, these people might get through and bring the virus with them into our country,” he added.
To ensure that this does not happen, Muhyiddin said the country’s heads of security forces including the police, army, Maritime Enforcement Agency, Immigration and People's Volunteer Corps (RELA) have been instructed to enhance controls along the borders of Malaysia.
Each fatality caused by the virus is a huge loss to the country, he said. Hence, as the Prime Minister, Muhyiddin said it was his responsibility to safeguard the public’s lives and safety, “whether they are infants, youngsters, adults or senior citizens”.
“Let me remind you that 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,” he said, adding he is grateful that most Malaysians are law-abiding and disciplined.
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