KUALA LUMPUR: The Health Ministry has reminded Malaysians not to take a lackadaisical approach and strictly adhere to the standard operating procedures (SOP), including interstate travel restrictions to successfully break the chain of Covid-19 transmission.
Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah stressed that interstate travel restriction is one of the measures needed to reduce coronavirus numbers.
He said a total of 3,170 interstate travel-related Covid-19 cases (Import B) have been reported from Jan 1 this year to March 21.
Interstate cases he said refers to cases of Covid-19 infection reported in one state but believed to have originated from other states as a result of crossing state borders.
He said the three states with the highest number of Import B cases since January were Kedah with 714 cases (22.5 per cent), Perak with 582 cases (18.4 per cent), and Negri Sembilan with 370 cases (11.7 per cent).
This is followed by Terengganu with 342 cases, Pahang (310), Kelantan (255), Melaka (187), Sarawak (184), Johor (153), Perlis (33), Labuan (18), Penang (12), Kuala Lumpur (four), Selangor (three), and Sabah (three). Putrajaya registered no such cases.
Dr Noor Hisham further said Covid-19 clusters that originated from interstate travel also saw an increase since the third wave began on Sept 20, 2020.
“An interstate cluster is a cluster that involves an index case or the first case detected of getting Covid-19 infection from another state, and subsequently resulting in local transmission of infection.
“Following the increase in interstate clusters, the government had announced a Movement Control Order and banned interstate travel beginning Jan 13, this year.”
He said following the implementation of the ban for several months, the number of new daily cases and clusters involving interstate activities began to show a consistent decline.
The final interstate travel-related cluster, which was the Tersat cluster in Terengganu was reported on Jan 30, he said.
“31 interstate travel-related clusters have been reported since Dec 7, 2020, until March 21, this year. Three of the active clusters are the Tembok Mempaga cluster, Tembok Bukit Besi cluster and Pasai cluster.
“These interstate cases and clusters not only resulted in the spread of Covid-19 infection to green zone areas, but activities such as returning home also increased the risk of infection to vulnerable groups such as the elderly and children.”
Dr Noor Hisham, therefore, reminded the public to always adhere to the SOP that has been outlined in all circumstances to ensure that efforts taken thus far are not in vain although the country is showing a declining trend in cases over the past few weeks.
“This includes compliance with interstate travel bans unless there are important matters and the public need to get permission from the police.
“For states under the Recovery Movement Control Order (RMCO), interstate movement is allowed under the Domestic Tourism Bubble Programme or Travel Bubble which allows tourists from the RMCO area to visit other RMCO states.
“Such activities are subject to strict SOPs, including having to go through a travel agency registered under the Tourism, Arts and Culture Ministry.
“Also, people must adopt preventive measures as a new norm as recommended by the health ministry by observing physical distancing, maintaining personal hygiene, and wearing face masks in public places.
“It is hoped that with the cooperation of all Malaysians and public health actions that are being carried out, Malaysia can break the Covid-19 chain of transmission and be free from this pandemic,” he added.