PUTRAJAYA: Measures implemented under the conditional movement control order (CMCO) in several states have prevented a fresh and drastic spike in Covid-19 cases, health director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said today.
He said there were predictions by several organisations, including Imperial College London, of infections rising to between 5,000 and 8,000 cases a day during the third wave of the pandemic.
The health ministry itself had expected some 4,500 cases a day at the end of October.
“But this did not happen as we implemented the CMCO and have now seen the results. However, the (Covid-19) war is far from over,” he said in a special two-hour briefing today, which was also attended by senior ministry officials.
Noor Hisham said the MCO in the early stages of the pandemic had proved to be effective in breaking the chain of infection, but had caused losses of about RM2.4 billion a day to the economy.
“So during the (recent) National Security Council meeting, we took into account life and livelihood, a balance between health and economy before deciding on the CMCO,” he said, adding that the ministry had at one point even suggested that the MCO be implemented in Selangor starting Oct 14.
However, this could not be done after considering economic factors, and the CMCO was enforced instead, Noor Hisham said in response to calls for a full MCO lockdown to be implemented following the recent spike in cases.
Asked whether large-scale Covid-19 screenings would be conducted, he said that only targeted approach mass testing would be carried out, such as for people returning from high-risk places and for foreign workers.
The ministry also proposed scheduled screenings on employees in high-risk sectors in certain states, including the Klang Valley, Negeri Sembilan, Penang and Sabah.
The director of the Disease Control Division, Dr Norhayati Rusli, said Malaysia had made early preparations to face the probability of a pandemic such as Covid-19.
“In December last year, Malaysia invited foreign experts and the World Health Organization to assess Malaysia’s preparedness for possible incidents, and the experts found that Malaysia had met all the requirements outlined,” she said.
She said one of the challenges faced by the ministry was the fake news spread by irresponsible parties “… how to convince the public and all levels (of society) that Covid-19 is real and how everyone needs to work together with the government to prevent and contain the pandemic”.