PUTRAJAYA: The Health Ministry has hinted that travel bans may continue to be enforced even after the movement control order (MCO) is lifted.
Health director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah on Thursday (April 23) said border control measures introduced by the government had reduced the number of imported Covid-19 cases and should be continued.
“If we look at our imported cases, we have successfully managed it with our border controls.
"We need to tighten border control, especially now, with the increasing number of cases in over 180 countries.
“Lifting the MCO does not mean we will lift border controls; in fact, we need to strengthen it further, ” he said at the ministry’s daily Covid-19 press conference here.
Dr Hisham had previously mentioned that there were six criteria that needed to be met before lifting the MCO, with border controls being the most important.
Malaysia has banned non-Malaysians from entering the country, only allowing its own citizens to return home.
The Health director-general also said the government was going for a soft landing approach when removing the MCO, where it would ease certain restrictions in phases.
“In the easing of restrictions, we are looking into allowing the economic sector to take off first.
"The social and education sectors will have to wait a little bit longer.
“We have to do it slowly, but surely. More importantly, our exit strategy must be something that is implementable.
“This will take time, perhaps weeks and even months, as we slowly embrace the new norm, ” he said.
Malaysia is currently in the 37th day of the MCO.
On whether the ministry had presented its views to the Prime Minister on whether the MCO should be extended, Dr Hisham said they were still monitoring the trend of Covid-19 cases.
“We had a meeting today but we only discussed the principles behind the removal of the MCO.
"What we need to study now is the facts and science to back up the decision, ” he said.