MCO needs to be extended, says medical group

KUALA LUMPUR: The current Movement Control Order (MCO) needs to be extended up to and beyond Hari Raya Aidilfitri which falls in May, urged a medical group.

The Academy of Medicine of Malaysia (AMM) in a statement here today said the Covid-19 pandemic has made it necessary for social distancing to be the new norm for at least a period of time until the situation is well under control.

“The risks of spreading the virus particularly to the elderly, in the case of a ‘balik kampung’ exodus, are very real.

“Risks associated with crowding at R & R stations and hence the failure of social distancing by travelers during this exodus and their subsequent return to urban areas will also need to be taken into consideration,” the statement read.

A total of 156 new Covid-19 cases , with two deaths, was reported as of noon yesterday, bringing the accumulated number of Covid-19 cases in the country to 4,119, with a total of 65 deaths.

AMM added responsible behaviour in adhering to social distancing measures is required of everyone until a vaccine is made available.

“For this year at least, be it Ramadan, Aidilfitri or even Haj gatherings - there is a need for control, monitoring and possible banning of these gatherings,” it said.

AMM also urged the government to strengthen plans to ease the socio-economic repercussions of the pandemic as it will continue to have major negative impact on all aspects of the Malaysian economy which is why robust whole-of-government and whole-of-society approaches are needed.

“The war against Covid-19 is far from over, many sacrifices have been and will continue to be made this year. Let us show the world that Malaysians can exercise restraint as a nation and bring the war to a favourable close,” said the statement.

Bernama reported yesterday the public will know tomorrow (April 10) whether the MCO, enforced since March 18, will be further extended or not to curb the spread of Covid-19.

It was initially enforced until March 31, but extended to April 14 and tomorrow, the government is expected to make the much-awaited announcement on whether MCO will be further extended.

The Academy of Medicine of Malaysia, embracing 11 Colleges and 15 Chapters, is a registered body representing all the medical specialists in Malaysia. — Bernama