Wrong for people to think MCO is over, says health DG

Health director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah says the government is using the World Health Organization’s six criteria for ending a lockdown to ease the MCO rules.

PUTRAJAYA: Health director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah has rubbished the perception that the movement control order (MCO) is over just because the government is easing restrictions from tomorrow.

“We did not end the MCO; the perception that it is over is wrong. The MCO is still in effect and we are only giving some leeway.”

Noor Hisham said the government was using the World Health Organization’s six criteria for ending a lockdown to ease the MCO.

“If there are individuals or companies which cannot abide by the standard operating procedures (SOP), then fall back on the MCO.”

Without a vaccine for Covid-19 yet, Noor Hisham said the virus would likely remain in the community for a year or even two years.

As such, the two ways to contain its spread would be through an MCO or SOP.

He said what was important was the adherence to the SOP, noting that some countries with a high level of social discipline, such as Sweeden and Taiwan, had not introduced any form of lockdown to control the spread of Covid-19.

DG: Report shops not observing SOP

On reports that some were not adhering to SOP and MCO regulations, Noor Hisham said reports can be lodged against premises which are not observing standard operating procedures (SOP) of the conditional movement control order (CMCO).

Action, he said, can be taken, including closing of these premises.

With malls set to reopen tomorrow, Noor Hisham said if there is any positive case, the ministry will close the mall for disinfection and carry out active case detection to ensure those who have had close contact are screened and quarantined.

On cases at wet markets, Noor Hisham said everyone should take general precautions, including wearing masks, if possible, and practise social distancing.

“The only ‘vaccine’ we have now is social distancing.”

Asked on Universiti Malaysia Sabah’s move to quarantine students for an extra two weeks, Noor Hisham said it could be because they had interactions with outsiders.

On Covid-19 clusters, Noor Hisham said 50 new cases were from the Pesantren cluster of returning students from Indonesia, 17 from the Sendayan cluster, 16 from the Chow Kit Market cluster, one from the Kuching church cluster and one from the Sarawak health workers cluster.

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