KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia announced on Tuesday (Feb 16) that the movement control order (MCO) will be extended for the states of Selangor, Johor and Penang as well as the federal territory of Kuala Lumpur until Mar 4.

Meanwhile, it will relax the COVID-19 restrictions for most areas of the country, with the conditional movement control order (CMCO) reinstated for Kedah, Perak, Negeri Sembilan, Terengganu, Kelantan, Melaka, Pahang and Sabah as well as the federal territories of Putrajaya and Labuan.

The northern state of Perlis will be placed under recovery movement control order (RMCO), said Senior Minister for Security Ismail Sabri Yaakob in a press conference.

These will be implemented from Feb 19 until Mar 4.

Mr Ismail Sabri, who is also Defence Minister, said people are now permitted to travel more than 10km from their homes, even in areas under MCO.

However, interstate and inter-district travel are still not allowed, he said.

Speaking during the press conference, Mr Ismail Sabri urged Malaysian residents to adhere to the standard operating procedures (SOPs) to curb the spread of COVID-19, even though restrictions will be eased in some locations.

“We don’t want to have more new cases when RMCO and CMCO are implemented. We need to flatten the curve together and ease the pressure on healthcare. Breaking the chain of infection is so important. Avoid leaving home unless necessary,” he added.

Earlier this year, all states in the country except Sarawak were placed under MCO until Feb 18 in response to a spike in COVID-19 cases.

Sarawak was subsequently placed under CMCO from Feb 15 to Mar 1.

When Malaysia was first placed under the MCO in March last year, almost all economic activities ceased, except for essential services such as food and beverage outlets and pharmacies.

The lockdown saw the country reduce its COVID-19 cases to single digits in the first half of 2020. MCO was replaced by CMCO and recovery movement control order (RMCO), while localised restrictions were introduced in areas with a spike in cases.

In contrast, this current MCO, dubbed “MCO 2.0”, has allowed more economic sectors to continue functioning, such as the automotive sector and retailers like gold and jewellery shops.

Since MCO 2.0 was enforced in January, Malaysia has continued to battle a sharp spike in infections and has consistently reported four-digit daily increases in COVID-19 cases.

On Monday, Malaysia recorded 2,176 new COVID-19 cases, the lowest number of daily infections recorded in the past 30 days.

So far, Malaysia has reported a cumulative tally of 266,445 infections and 975 deaths.

There are currently 47,135 active cases, with 260 patients in intensive care and 112 people requiring ventilator support.

— Channel News Asia —