Putrajaya — The Malaysian government has extended to April 14 the Movement Control Order (MCO) it announced on March 16 to prevent the spread of Covid-19 in the country.
The MCO, effectively a lockdown of the country, had originally been meant for two weeks, from March 18 to 31.
Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin said on Wednesday (March 25) that he had been informed about a spike in Covid-19 cases during discussions on the crisis with the National Security Council and the Ministry of Health.
“The Health Ministry and the National Security Council have briefed me. The current trend is that new cases are still happening and will continue for a while until it stops,” he said.
“The government is of the opinion that the Movement Control Order should continue. In line with this, the government has decided to extend the MCO until April 14. I am informing you on the extension earlier so that the people can be prepared,” the Prime Minister said.
Mr Muhyiddin said it was of the utmost importance to stop the spread of infections and that the MCO could prove successful if the people were not exposed to the virus in their daily interactions.
“I know it is not easy to stay at home for a long time. I am sure there are many challenges. But the reality is that we have not faced something like this before and we would like to contain it as soon as possible.
“The MCO thus far has helped in controlling the spread, but we cannot be too happy about it until we successfully have zero new cases,” the Prime Minister said.
As at noon on March 25, Malaysia had 1,796 confirmed cases of Covid-19, more than double the 673 cases only a week ago. A total of 17 people had died of the disease.
Mr Muhyiddin called on the people to be “mentally and physically prepared” to remain at home for “a reasonably longer period of time”.
He added that those who work in Kuala Lumpur but who are now in their home towns should not rush back, nor should students return to their hostels.
Mr Muhyiddin had reassuring words for the public: “So, we will keep making efforts to break the chain of infection. That said, I will have to announce this extension. I am sorry, but I am doing this for your well-being and your health.
“Please stay calm and don’t panic. Even though we have extended the Movement Control Order (MCO), you don’t have to unnecessarily stock up on food because the supply is sufficient. I assure you that there is enough food for everybody.
“I know you feel burdened but I don’t have a choice. I have to extend the MCO for your own safety.”
Those who do not obey the MCO can be fined as much as RM1,000 (S$329), be jailed for up to half a year, or both. /TISG