KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 2 — Regulations concerning Chinese New Year celebrations this year will be completed and announced soon, Senior Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said today.

He said the standard operating procedure (SOP) about festivities are still being drafted, adding that discussions involve the Health Ministry (MOH), the National Security Council (NSC), and the Ministry of National Unity.

“We are in the process of drafting these SOPs, because the first day of Chinese New Year falls on February 12, which is within the movement control order.

“The MOH, together with the National Unity Ministry and the NSC I believe will have these SOPs ready in the near future and we will announce it then,” the defence minister who is also in charge of Covid-19 security matters said in a virtual news conference today.

He had earlier announced an extension of the MCO until February 18.

The MCO had been announced on January 13 covering five states and all three Federal Territories and was supposed to last two weeks initially, but later was enlarged to cover the rest of the country with the exception of Sarawak and extended until February 4.

The minister also cited the high number of Covid-19 cases and clusters as reasons to maintain the interstate travel ban, which effectively means many will not be able to return to their hometowns outstation for the annual reunion dinner on Chinese New Year Eve.