KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 9 — The movement control order (MCO) reintroduced last month has borne the desired result as the daily new Covid-19 cases are decreasing, the Health director-general said today.

Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah added that the cases could stabilise and reach a plateau by week four of the MCO if the public continued to comply with the standard operating procedures.

“If we look at the past nine days, cases are on the decline,” he said in a news conference this evening.

He suggested that worse may have passed, as when new Covid-19 cases spiked to 5,298 within 24 hours on January 31.


“We expect that the implementation of the MCO for a period of four weeks, then we could see the results

“At the moment we are entering week three of the MCO and in a week’s time, we will see a downward trend in daily cases as well as the R-nought, from 1.2 to a manageable 0.6,” said Dr Noor Hisham.

R-nought refers to the basic reproduction number (R-nought or R0) of Covid-19 infections.


Overall, Dr Noor Hisham said Malaysia’s R-nought is currently at 0.91.

It was previously reported that an R-nought of below 1.0 is necessary to prevent the growth of new infections.

The MCO was implemented on January 13 and has been extended to February 18.

Dr Noor Hisham said he remains hopeful that after the implementation of the MCO, followed by a gradual shift to a conditional MCO, the downward trend of cases will continue.

“In our calculation, based on four weeks of MCO followed by CMCO, we hope to see a lower rate of infectivity at 0.6 per cent. This means in a week’s time, we hope to see 2,000 cases (daily), then 1,000 cases, and then 500 cases and so on.

“If we keep lowering the infectivity rate, it is possible for us to flatten the curve, perhaps by March or April and we hope to hit two digits by mid-May or the end of May,’’ he said.

Following the announcement by Senior Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob that dine-in in restaurants will be allowed starting tomorrow, Dr Noor Hisham stressed the importance of self-discipline and the highest compliance of the SOPs to ensure that all the efforts put into containing the Covid-19 outbreak do not go to waste.