Covid-19: Preventive laws could remain when economic sectors reopen

KUALA LUMPUR: Laws to prevent the spread of Covid-19 could remain in place when economic sectors are reopened, says Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah.

The Health director-general said the government could still use the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act 1988 to ensure control of borders among other things, with assistance of the police and army.

"Perhaps we need to continue with the Act so that we can continue to monitor the situation.

"When all sectors are opened and (we) still maintain single or low two-digit (number of newly infected), then we are ready for an exit strategy," he said during the Health Ministry's daily Covid-19 updates on Tuesday (June 2).

Dr Noor Hisham said this was the "soft landing" approach.

He said the ministry found that most Malaysians were adhering to the standard operating procedures (SOP), but were concerned about foreign workers.

He added that the ministry had discussed with the National Security Council for a committee to look into adherence of the SOP issued for foreign workers.

"If both Malaysians and foreign workers can adhere to SOPs, we can break the chain of infection in the country," he said.

He said that on Tuesday (June 2), Malaysia reported 20 Covid-19 new cases, of which 15 were imported and five were local transmissions.

Dr Noor Hisham was responding to a question on whether Malaysia was ready to open up more sectors and if there were more SOPs to be introduced.

On whether the ministry would control the promotion of goods in shops that could lead to overcrowding, he said the issue was not promotions but overcrowding.

"Companies need to be innovative, and they could, for instance, work by appointment or sell things online. We are open to innovative ideas," he said.

He added that more economic activities were welcome but companies must adhere to SOP to prevent overcrowding.

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