PM warns movement control order could be extended if Covid-19 containment objectives not achieved

People wearing face masks walk past shuttered shops along Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman as the movement control order kicks in on March 18, 2020. — Picture by Hari Anggara
People wearing face masks walk past shuttered shops along Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman as the movement control order kicks in on March 18, 2020. — Picture by Hari Anggara

KUALA LUMPUR, March 18 — The 14-day movement control order could be extended if its objective to contain the Covid-19 outbreak is not achieved, warned Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin. 

“If in this period we are not completely successful, the government might be forced to extend the control order. 

“That is why it is important that all of us isolate ourselves and our families from exposure to the Covid-19 virus by staying at home,” he said during a special address broadcasted across national television stations tonight. 

Muhyiddin noted that the significant increase in positive Covid-19 cases was worrying, explaining stern action like the now-enforced restriction order had to be taken to contain any further spread. 

He spelled out that the intention to press pause on non-essential services was not to allow Malaysians to return to their hometowns as if on holiday, but to minimise the movements of the masses to avoid being exposed to the Covid-19 virus. 

Muhyiddin reminded the public that Covid-19 can be contracted through touch, saying decisions to visit their usual destinations, or worse congregate at a public place only increases their risks of contracting the virus. 

“Its intention is not to allow you to return to your hometown, to attend kenduri, go shopping at the supermarket, or go for a walk in the park or go on vacation at a holiday destination. 

“No, it’s not. Its intention is so that you ladies and gentlemen stay at home; stay at home and protect yourself and your family. 

“I plead with you, once again, just sit quietly at home,” he said. 

The prime minister advised those still with plans to host social events such as weddings to hold off celebrations until a later date or until the situation has been contained. 

He added that he would need the cooperation of the public to suppress the outbreak successfully, pointing out that the idea of staying at home might seem simple, but avoiding exposure could go a long way towards containing the virus. 

“As the prime minister, I have an immense responsibility to handle the crisis that has hit our country. 

“But I cannot possibly carry out my duties alone; I need everyone’s support,” he added. 

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