Dr Noor Hisham hints at extended travel ban

PUTRAJAYA: The Health Ministry has alluded that travel bans will probably remain in place even after the movement control order (MCO) is lifted.

Health director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah (pic) says that border control measures introduced by the government have efficiently reduced the number of imported Covid-19 cases and should continue.

“If we look at our imported cases, we have successfully managed it with our border control. 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 control. In fact, we need to strengthen it further, ” he said at the ministry’s daily Covid-19 press conference here.

Dr Noor Hisham had previously mentioned there were six criteria that need to be met before the MCO could be lifted, with border control being the most important.

Malaysia has banned non-Malaysians from entering the country, only allowing citizens to return home.

Dr Noor Hisham 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 would take time, perhaps weeks and even months, as we slowly embrace the new norm, ” he said.

On whether the ministry had presented its views to the prime minister on the MCO removal, Dr Noor Hisham said they were still monitoring the trend of the Covid-19 cases.

“In our meeting today, 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.

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