Ministry studying more areas for lockdown, says Ismail Sabri

Army personnel stand guard at Menara One City in Kuala Lumpur which was locked down under an enhanced movement control order last week.

PUTRAJAYA: Defence Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob says the health ministry is considering imposing a total lockdown in several more areas as the government continues its efforts to contain the outbreak of Covid-19 in the country.

“They are still considering it in detail,” he added at a press conference here today.

“What is important is that this time, we need to be more focused. We do not want to take such a wide radius.”

For example, he said, one positive case might be reported in a village, but lockdown imposed for a radius of five or six kilometres.

“When it comes to Lembah Pantai, it’s a high density area. So we need to look into which areas require lockdown.

“The health ministry will come up with a new standard operating procedure on how to enforce the enhanced movement control order or total lockdown.”

On another issue, he said it was up to the National Security Council (NSC) to allow or disallow businesses to continue operating throughout the movement control order (MCO) period.

This follows reports of hardware shops, agriculture and industrial machinery spare parts shops, shops dealing with agricultural input, food outlets and animal care shops being allowed to operate twice a week on Mondays and Thursdays, from 8am to 2pm.

“These are not normal days,” Ismail said.

“If they were normal days, the local authorities would have the power to allow or disallow a business premise to open.”

He said all decisions involving states or districts should be in line with the will of the federal government, based on what is set by the NSC.

“I hope that such matters will not happen again.”