Malaysia’s government implemented a Movement Control Order in mid-March 2020 in an effort to mitigate the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus. This MCO had to be extended by two weeks to 31 March 2020 due to an increased severity in the rate of infection. However, it has just been announced that the MCO will be extended by another two weeks until 28 April 2020.
During a live telecast, Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yasin said that the MCO has helped healthcare workers contain the spread of infection.
In addition, he added that despite the relatively high rate of infection over the past month, the country’s death rates were low compared to the global toll, and that the number of new cases are also declining.
“If the trend continues to drop, we can curb it from spreading, but we cannot take it easy,” he said. “The extension is to allow health workers to curb the pandemic.”
When the MCO was implemented, all government and private businesses were shut down except for essential services such as water and electricity, telecommunications, transport, banking and food supply.
The second phase of the MCO saw a 10km travel restriction being imposed with leeway given if essential goods or services could not be found within the vicinity.
Members of the public were also barred from carrying passengers in their vehicles except during emergencies, with a 10pm-6am curfew for all vehicles including those used for e-hailing.
Hypermarkets, grocery stores and petrol stations meanwhile were only allowed to operate from 8am to 8pm.
With the MCO being extended once more, the prime minister confirmed that schools would continue to be postponed until the situation stabilises, adding that the health ministry would implement home-based learning for the students.
Most businesses are still required to keep their offices or shops closed while their employees continue to work remotely. However, selected sectors and industries will be opened in stages and will operate according to a standard operating procedure. Said operations will still have to abide by strict guidelines to ensure health and safety.