Muhyiddin: All gatherings postponed until April 30 or to be cancelled due to Covid-19

PETALING JAYA: All gatherings - including international meetings, sports, social and religious events - will be postponed until April 30 or cancelled, says Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.

The Prime Minister, however, added that the decision will be revisited if the situation improves.

The country now has 197 Covid-19 cases.

Muhyiddin also said that prayers at mosques should follow the guidelines issued by Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Zulkifli Mohamad Al-Bakri.

He added that he hoped that Islamic bodies in the states would come up with guidelines similar to the one issued by Zulkifli by taking into the advice and instructions from the relevant authorities, especially the Health Ministry.

"The religious events of other religions that are at a mass scale must also take into account advice and instructions from the Health Ministry from time to time," said Muhyiddin in a special televised address to the nation on Friday (March 13) night.

He also said that more hospitals will provide treatment for Covid-19 related cases.

Muhyiddin said currently 26 government hospitals and a university hospital that have the capacity to handle Covid-19 related cases.

Apart from that, Muhyiddin said collaborations with private hospitals, Defence Ministry hospitals and university hospitals have begun as preparations to receive Covid-19 related patients.

"At the same time, there are 57 government hospitals and health clinics nationwide that are ready to conduct health screenings for those with Covid-19 symptoms.

"The government has also identified the Sungai Buloh Hospital, as well as a hospital in each state, as designated hospitals to treat Covid-19 cases.

"Labs to conduct Covid-19 tests have also been enhanced. This includes 22 labs under the Health Ministry, as well as other labs under the Defence Ministry and the Agriculture and Food Industries Ministry," said Muhyiddin.

Muhyiddin also said that the government realises that travel restrictions are one of the steps that must be taken to curb the spread of Covid-19.

He added that as such, the travel ban to Hubei, Jiangsu and Zhejiang provinces in China will continue, as well as the travel bans to Hokkaido in Japan, Italy, Iran and South Korea will continue.

Muhyiddin also said that Malaysians are also advised not to travel to these places, as well as to other destinations that have cases of Covid-19.

He added that cruise ships will only be allowed to dock to resupply and also said that only Malaysian crewmembers will be allowed to disembark.

Muhyiddin said that these crewmembers will have to undergo strict health screenings.

He then added that the government is concerned about the welfare of Malaysians currently in countries that are badly affected due to the outbreak, such as in China, Iran, Italy and Korea.

"Thus far, the government has brought back 107 Malaysians from some of these countries, while 65 Malaysians in Iran and 323 in Italy are in the process of being brought home," said Muhyiddin.

He added that several sectors of the economy such as tourism, transportation and small and medium industries have taken a beating and acknowledged that many tour packages have been cancelled and that has affected those working in the airlines and hotel industries.

"The estimated losses in the tourism industry from January to February this year is about RM3.37bil.

"The government estimates that the gross domestic product (GDP) will decline between 0.8% and 1.2%, which is between RM10.8bil and RM17.3bil.

"I realise that immediate steps must be taken by the government to reduce the effect of the outbreak to the nation's economy, especially to the rakyat.

"As such, the government will ensure that the economic stimulus package announced will be monitored, so that the effects of the implementation can be felt by all soon," he added.

He also gave an assurance that there will be a sufficient supply of essential goods for the people.

Muhyiddin said he is also given updates on the Covid-19 situation daily by the special task-force headed by the Health Ministry, and added this will enable measures to be taken to face all eventualities.

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