By Mei Kuan
The National Security Council (MKN) Special Meeting on the management of COVID-19 chaired by the Prime Minister in the evening decided to implement phase one of a total lockdown nationwide for 14 days beginning June 1 till 14.
During this period, all sectors are not allowed to operate except for essential economic and service sectors to be listed by the MKN.
According to the media statement released by the Prime Minister’s Office today (May 28), the decision was made in view of the current situation of the COVID-19 outbreak in Malaysia with the total daily cases exceeding 8,000 cases and active cases exceeding 70,000 cases. Till today, a total of 2,552 people died from COVID-19 and the number is increasing. The emergence of new variants that are more aggressive and infectious also contributed to the decision.
As the daily cases have shown a marked increase recently, the capacity of hospitals nationwide to treat COVID-19 patients is becoming limited.
If phase one of the lockdown is able to reduce the daily cases of infection, the government will implement phase two of lockdown. Phase two allows the reopening of a few economic sectors which do not involve huge gatherings, enabling adherence to physical distancing. The second phase will be implemented for a period of four weeks after the end of phase one.
After phase two ends, the next step will be phase three where the Movement Control Order which is effective presently will be implemented. During this period, social activities are not permitted while almost all economic sectors are allowed to operate in accordance with strict standard operating procedures (SOPs). Plus, physical attendance at the workplace is limited.
However, the transition from one phase to another will be decided subject to risk assessment by the Ministry of Health. Assessment will be made based on development of daily cases and the capacity of hospitals nationwide to treat COVID-19 patients.
In order to strengthen the public healthcare system of the nation, various support and aid will be channeled to the Ministry of Health in order to increase the capacity of hospitals nationwide.
The total number of vaccine administrations will also be increased in the coming few weeks in the effort to achieve herd immunity in the nation.
Following the government’s decision to implement total lockdown, the Ministry of Finance will detail the aid packages for the people and the impacted economic sectors. The announcement of the aid packages will be made in the near future.
Malaysians are urged to stay disciplined and follow the set SOPs to break the chain of COVID-19 transmission. Stay at home to flatten the curve.