‘Extending RMCO the Only Way to Keep Covid-19 from Worsening’

PETALING JAYA: Extending the recovery movement control order (MCO) is the only way Malaysia can keep its borders closed and restrict international travel to keep out Covid-19.

Saying that the pandemic was far from over, epidemiologist Prof Dr Awang Bulgiba Awang Mahmud of Universiti Malaya opined that ending the recovery MCO would mean opening up borders.

“The recovery MCO means that we are still applying (provisions) under Acts 342 (Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act 1988) and 344 (Police Act) to Malaysia. “So, we can still restrict international travel and enforce the standard operating procedure (SOP) related to Covid-19.

“Otherwise, on what basis can we keep borders closed and enforce the Covid-19 SOP?” he said.

The recovery MCO, said Prof Awang Bulgiba was likely to go on for some time until there was an effective vaccine or treatment.

“Many countries in this region and elsewhere are still facing problems containing the outbreak, so we need to be careful with which country we open up borders to.

“That means some form of MCO still needs to be in effect, ” he said.

Johor Doctors Association founder and president Dr Ng Kim Fong said it would be better to extend the recovery MCO as several new Covid-19 clusters were recently detected in the country, including the Bukit Tiram cluster in Johor.

“However, the government should slowly open up the economy as many businesses have been suffering throughout the many phases of MCO.

“Whether or not we should open our border is another question but I believe that the reopening of our border with Singapore – in phases – is a good way to go, ” he said.

Johor Baru St. Johns Ambulance of Malaysia area commander Dr Goh Aik Ping said public reaction towards the recovery MCO had been quite positive.

“I believe many would be willing to have the recovery MCO period extended, ” he said.

Alliance for A Safe Community chairman Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye said the government had to ensure that the country was free of Covid-19 before lifting the recovery MCO.

“While the situation is under control at the moment, there are still several clusters emerging and there is still a lack of compliance to the SOP, especially in maintaining social distancing, ” he said.

The number of infections is also fluctuating between a single digit and double digits.

“We should heed the lessons of other countries which saw a second wave after certain restrictions were relaxed.

“It is important for Malaysians not to let our guard down.

“Maintain self-discipline while fully complying with the SOP.”

 

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