Schools can open if numbers are low

PUTRAJAYA: More sectors including schools can be reopened if Malaysia continues to see low Covid-19 figures in the first week of June, said Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah.

The Health director-general said while the country had shown its lowest daily figure in over two months with only 10 cases yesterday, the ministry was worried about the post-festive season impact.

“The success of the conditional movement control order (MCO) over the past 24 days can be seen in the number of cases.

“But the ministry is still concerned about the impact of the festive season, which we will see in the first week of June.

“By June 9, we should be able to make a decision. If the low number of cases can still be sustained by then, taking into account the festive season, we can open more of the social and education sectors.

“We are very cautious before we make changes to our policies, ” he said at the ministry’s daily Covid-19 press conference.

The conditional MCO is scheduled to end on June 9 barring any further extension by the government.

Hari Raya was celebrated on May 24 and 25.

The Pesta Kaamatan festival will be held on May 30 and 31, while Hari Gawai Dayak falls on June 1 and 2.

Earlier, Dr Noor Hisham announced 10 new cases in the country, the lowest daily figure since the MCO was enforced on March 18. This followed Wednesday’s figure of 15 cases.

There were also no Covid-19 deaths for six days in a row.

Dr Noor Hisham stressed on the importance of Malaysians continuing to comply with the Covid-19 standard operating procedure (SOP).

“We hope the public can work hand in hand with the ministry to comply with the SOP. Social discipline and compliance from all is very important to break the chain of the Covid-19 transmission.

“If Malaysians comply with our SOP, rest assured we can see single digits in our daily case figures, ” he said.

Dr Noor Hisham said Malaysia’s testing capacity for Covid-19 by using the reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) method is now close to 30,000 a day.

He said the country on May 27 had a maximum testing capacity of 29,789 tests for RT-PCR with 26,005 tests being done on that day.

“RT-PCR testing at the very beginning was only 7,000 to 8,000 a day but now it is almost 30,000, ” he said.

The country’s testing capacity is further boosted by the antigen rapid test kits (RTK) which were procured from South Korea.

“We have a choice now. We can use RT-PCR or the antigen RTK.

“The antigen RTK is used when we need to have a fast turnaround time of just 45 minutes to an hour where we would be able to obtain the results.

“If there is no need for a fast turnaround time, then we can use the RT-PCR, ” he said.

For the antigen RTK method, 3,708 tests were done as of May 27, with 50 samples having tested positive for the virus.

The RTK is currently being deployed at KLIA, KLIA2 as well as clinics in the interiors of Sabah and Sarawak.

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