Govt may introduce 'soft landing' approach when lifting MCO, says Health DG

PUTRAJAYA: The government may introduce a “soft landing” approach when removing the movement control order (MCO), says the Health Ministry.

Health director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said this would mean social distancing rules and bans on large gatherings were likely to continue for the rest of the year.

“Even after we have lifted the MCO, we will continue advising the people to stay at home if you do not need to go out of the house. That is the principle.

“We are definitely looking at an exit strategy. Perhaps when we start (the removal of MCO), it must be a soft landing.

“What we will return to is not the norm, but a new norm.

“We may take some time, maybe three or six months. Our policies in terms of public gathering must change. Social distancing must remain, and we will continue reminding people to wash hands and to stay at home, ” said Dr Noor Hisham at the ministry’s daily Covid-19 press conference here.

The MCO is currently in its third phase following two extensions by the government, and is expected to end on April 28.

On Monday (April 20), Malaysia recorded the lowest number of daily new cases (36) since the MCO began on March 18.

It also reported zero deaths in the span of 24 hours, the first time it has done so since March 19.

However, Dr Noor Hisham stressed that the country is still battling with Covid-19 and that more needs to be done to lower the number of cases even further.

“The war is not won yet. But neither have we lost it. We have made significant improvement in terms of reducing the number of cases.

“Today, we recorded 36 new cases, the lowest for quite some time. But we want to see single digits. Maybe we can achieve that in one week. So we need to continue what we did in the first and second phase of the MCO, ” said Dr Noor Hisham.

The total number of confirmed Covid-19 cases in Malaysia since the pandemic began is 5,425.

There are currently 2,041 active cases being treated at the country’s health facilities.

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