MB: Border reopening talks ongoing despite red zone status

JOHOR BARU: Economic activities, as well as the discussion to fully reopen the border with Singapore, are continuing even though Johor Baru is now a Covid-19 red zone.

Mentri Besar Datuk Hasni Mohammad said the red zone status, which was declared on Thursday, had not affected the discussions.

“What is important is the ability to control and making sure the standard operating procedure (SOP) can be followed when the border reopens to daily travellers.

“We have handed over our suggestion on the SOP to the Health Ministry which would forward it to its Singaporean counterpart during their discussion on the matter.

“The red zone status should not be an obstacle as when Singapore was recording a spike in Covid-19 cases, Malaysia still continued to send essential items across the border,” he said when met after officiating the state-level Global Down Syndrome Awareness Month yesterday.

Hasni hopes the border will fully reopen as soon as possible to boost bilateral trade.

On the red zone status, he said it would not affect economic activities in Johor Baru as the instruction was only for schools and other educational institutions to close.

Besides Johor Baru, the red zone area covers Pasir Gudang and Kulai with 376 institutions ordered to close until Nov 14.

Also affected by the closure order are 124 preschools, nine community rehabilitation centres, 105 daycare centres, two senior citizen activities centres and two children activities centres as well as 217 Islamic religious institutions which are under the purview of the Johor Islamic Religious Department.

Meanwhile, state health and environment committee chairman R. Vidyananthan said although Johor Baru was a red zone now, it did not necessitate the conditional movement control order in the state capital.

“This is because most cases, which are from clusters, are found in contagion within the family and the workplace of their family members. There are four active clusters in Johor –Meldrum (six cases), Bayu (eight), Kempas (42) and Rinting (10),” he said.

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