Health director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah urges the government to maintain tight restrictions under the Movement Control Order (MCO) and for the reopening of selected businesses be postponed.
The government on Friday announced the extension of the MCO for another 14 days to 28 April. In addition, certain businesses and sectors, such as barbershops, hair salons, laundromats are allowed to operate.
The DG said while plans to resume operations can be made, the implementation should be deferred, he told the press at his daily press briefing on Saturday.
He said measures implemented since the first and second phase of the MCO should instead be tightened. The health ministry had recommended that measures implemented in the prior phases be maintained until 28 April.
He added that restricted movement, border control and the prohibition of gatherings had proven to be successful. Data shows that the MCO had reduced the spread of the disease and help stabilise the pressure on the healthcare system.
“What’s important is that we are combating COVID-10 and we still have not won. But we’ve shown signs of success in lowering the number of cases.”Health director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah
Malaysia’s recovery rate has also been encouraging, with 1,830 having recovered and discharged to date. This translates to 43 percent of recoveries out of the total number of reported cases. Based on Friday’s tally, there were 220 recoveries against 118 new reported cases, the third time recoveries have outnumbered new cases in a day.
This of course, is not a time to be complacent or for letting the guard down. Noor Hisham lamented that the country was in a crucial phase of the battle against the spread of COVID-19.
Earlier, the DG said that public health experts have advised to consider three cycles of incubation of 14 days, which brings it to about six weeks, in order to control and break the chain of the disease.
On a separate note, Noor Hisham also advised against allowing university students to return home. He urges the higher education ministry, who is mulling the idea, to be patient. There are about 80,000 students nationwide living on campus and this does not include those renting rooms outside the campus.
The latest status report on COVID-19 in Malaysia can be found here.
Header image: FreeMalaysiaToday