Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin has announced the conditional movement control order (MCO) will be extended for another four weeks until June 9. While several festivities such as Hari Raya Aidilfitri, the Kaamatan Feast and Hari Gawai will fall during this period, mass movements across state borders or ‘balik kampung’ would not be allowed. We asked experts to comment on the fifth extension of the MCO.
Dr Khor Swee Kheng, Physician and Health Systems Specialist, said:
“The extension of the Conditional MCO to 9 June 2020 is welcome because it means predictability for citizens and businesses. Malaysia has to prepare for an ultra-long-term strategy for COVID-19, as we need to manage this until 2021 at least. This means strategic and predictable decision-making, not short-term reactions.
“A phased restart of public life is imperative. Once we learn the lessons from the phased restart of the economy, we can apply these to a phased restart of social and cultural activities, and then the educational and other sectors”
“The longer the MCO or CMCO lasts, the more important it is to focus on the social determinants of health. Citizens and residents of Malaysia must receive adequate economic, social and psychological support, not only healthcare. The social safety net must be strengthened, immediately and right now.”
Amrahi Buang, President of Malaysian Pharmaceutical Society, said:
“MPS welcomes the decision by the Prime Minister to extend the CMCO in Malaysia to 9 June 2020. It really makes sense since we are coming close to the exit strategy with regards to handling the COVID-19 pandemic in the country. It is a pragmatic way to control the pandemic with aggressive active case detection and targeted localities (red zones) from MCO 1 to current CMCO with EMCO being enforced in red zones. The advice from the Ministry of Health and public health experts and pressure groups has been followed by the government.
“By extending the CMCO to cover the festivities – Hari Raya Puasa, Pesta Kaamatan and Hari Gawai, all parties concerned can face with the realities and we expect the CMCO to be further loosened in the coming weeks. As mentioned, we have not reached the exit strategy phase now. By 9 June 2020, we are in a better position to carry out the exit strategies with a soft-landing approach.
“By now, the rakyat have learned the new normal and more compliance will be seen soon by extending the CMCO. They now understand the need to have the CMCO together with EMCO in infected localities to address the pandemic. This decision by the government has balanced the need for both health and economy concerns. Slowly and surely, more sectors will be open and more rakyat will be able to work in this COVID-19 environment with the new normal. Recently, Malaysia has been applauded for the way we have flattened the infection curve and able to provide fast treatment for the patients resulting in positive outcomes.”
These experts are members of the Malaysian Health Coalition (MHC) which is a coalition of 42 societies and organisations of health professionals aimed at improving healthcare for Malaysians, strengthening the Malaysian healthcare system and supporting health in all policies.
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