KUALA LUMPUR, May 2 — The movement control order (MCO) was meant to limit the spread of Covid-19 and prevent it from overwhelming the country’s health system, Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said in explaining the decision to reopen the economy on May 4.
The Health director-general said the MCO was not meant to completely eradicate the disease in Malaysia, when asked whether the decision to reopen was prudent given that the country continued to record more cases daily.
He added that policies on Covid-19 needed to balance both the disease’s threat to lives as well as livelihoods, and said that authorities have provided guidelines to businesses and the public on how to minimise their risk of the disease.
“No, we want to balance between life and livelihood, health and economy, and now we only open the economy but those workers that go to work need to comply fully with the SOP as the virus will be in our community for a long time, in (at least) a year or a year and a half.
“So (we have to ask) how are we going to live with the virus,” he said in his daily press conference today.
In his Labour Day address yesterday, Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin announced that almost all businesses save for those that rely on crowds and close contact would be allowed to open conditionally on May 4.w
The announcement was met with mixed responses as some countries that ended their lockdowns after believing they had contained Covid-19 were forced to reimpose controls when new cases spiked.
Today, Dr Noor Hisham stressed that companies allowed to open on Monday must comply fully with the Health Ministry’s guidelines and would be ordered to close if they do not.
He pointed out that the MCO remained in effect and further controls could be introduced in any areas that demonstrate an increase in Covid-19 cases.
Dr Noor Hisham also said government enforcers will be deployed to ensure that businesses do not ignore or neglect the guidelines.