Malaysia Extends Covid Restrictions

The Government of Malaysia has announced that the Recovery Movement Control Order (RMCO) will be extended until 31st March 2021. Senior Minister for the Security Cluster, Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob is reported as saying that this decision comes following a “significant increase” in Covid-19 cases in the country.

“The increase in the number of cases has been contributed by the implementation of compulsory screening of foreign workers carried out on a large scale, as well as the spread of infection within the community, especially in the Klang Valley and several states.”

Senior Minister (Security Cluster) Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob.

The RMCO was initially implemented on 10th June 2020 and was planned to last until 31st August 2020. It was then extended until 31st December 2020.

The RMCO will apply nationwide apart from in Selangor, Kuala Lumpur, Sabah and any other areas who are placed under either a Conditional Movement Control Order (CMCO) or an Enhanced Movement Control Order (EMCO).

The key restrictions under the RMCO include:

  • Pubs and nightclubs are only allowed to operate in relation to “restaurant” activities
  • Any activity where it is not possible to maintain social distancing and to comply with the directions of the Director General of Health. Worship is allowed as long as controls are in place.
  • Involvement or participation in processions or demonstrations
  • Outbound tourism by Malaysian citizens
  • Inbound tourism by foreign nationals except from any country specified by the Minister of Health
  • Entry into, or exit from, a place that is subject to an EMCO is prohibited except for any person who is providing healthcare and medical services or is permitted by an authorised officer.

“The public is advised to continue to comply with the SOP (Standard Operational Procedures). Practice 3W’s. Wear face mask (wear), wash hands frequently (wash), warn family members, friends and neighbours to comply with the SOP (warn), and avoid the 3C’s – narrow places (confined space), crowded places and close conversations to prevent the Covid-19 virus from spreading in the community.”

Senior Minister Ismail Sabri

Activities that are allowed during the RMCO remain subject to strict compliance with the prescribed SOP’s by the relevant authorities and include:

  • Business meetings, conventions and exhibitions are allowed to operate as long as physical distancing, wearing of face masks and all relevant SOP’s are followed
  • Creative industry activities are allowed as long as following SOP’s
  • Business travellers must adopt the One-Stop Center (OSC) MIDA platform
  • Travel within RMCO areas and between RMCO and CMCO areas is allowed. Travel to or through EMCO areas is not permitted.

Restrictions in CMCO areas also have the following conditions:

  • Business meetings, conventions and exhibitions are allowed to operate at 50% of normal capacity as long as physical distancing, wearing of face masks and all relevant SOP’s are followed
  • Business activities are allowed to continue as long as all SOP’s are followed
  • All transport related to business, industry and manufacturing can continue

Origins of Covid-19 in Malaysia

Malaysia work in preparation for a possible outbreak started as early as December 2019 as word spread of the emerging outbreak in Wuhan.

Hospitals were put on stand-by and emergency response plans were made ready for implementation.

The first case in Malaysia was confirmed on 25th January when a number of travellers arrived in the country from Singapore.

Additional cases were confined to a few arrivals from foreign countries until late February / early March when the first cases of internal transmission were confirmed. Infection quickly spread during March with more than 2,000 cases reported by the end of the month.

Malaysia has so far recorded 122,845 cases of Covid-19 including 2,027 in the last 24 hours. There have been 509 deaths including 8 in the last 24 hours.

Photo credit Amar Syazwan Rosman

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