Total lockdown not on the table yet, says home minister

Home Minister Hamzah Zainudin says police have taken action in 695 cases, with 28 arrests and 46 cases under investigation, after people went against the movement control order in force.

PETALING JAYA: Home Minister Hamzah Zainudin said Putrajaya was not considering imposing a total lockdown yet.

He added that he hoped the situation would not warrant one.

“For the time being, we have not thought about that yet. I do not want that to happen,” he told Bernama in a Ruang Bicara segment this evening.

“If possible, we would still use the present mechanism,” he added.

He said the current implementation of a movement control order (MCO) allows for continued services and movement, and would ensure that the economy carries on.

“That is why we ask that the rakyat understands this so we would not go to the level of imposing a total lockdown.”

However, Hamzah added that many people were still flouting the present MCO in place.

Home Minister Hamzah Zainudin.

He said police had taken action in 695 cases when people went against the order.

“This is already a big number,” he said, adding that this meant there were many more people going against the order.

Hamzah said there had been 28 arrests and 46 cases were currently being investigated.

“If all members of the public listen to the instruction to stay at home, then maybe there won’t be so many cases being reported,” he said, adding that the high number meant that many were still stubborn.

“If many still continue to be stubborn, there is a possibility that the outbreak will get worse and other mechanisms may need to be implemented,” he said, without elaborating on what these were.

Meanwhile, he warned against spreading misinformation about Covid-19.

He said so far, 94 investigations had been opened, six have been tried in court and five have pleaded guilty.

He said they can be charged under Section 505 of the Penal Code or Section 233 of the Communications and Multimedia Act.

So far, the death toll related to Covid-19 has climbed to 20, following three more deaths today.

At a press conference today, health director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah also announced 172 new cases, bringing the total to 1,796.