Health DG: MCO cannot end pandemic, only slow spread of Covid-19

PUTRAJAYA: The various stages of the movement control order (MCO) in place since March 18 are meant to contain the spread of Covid-19, but cannot end the pandemic, says Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah.

"The public health methods and implementation of MCO that we use will not end the infection. We can only control the infection and the fight will go on, ” the Health director-general said during a special briefing on Covid-19 issues here on Saturday (Nov 21).

For eight months, he said Malaysia managed to contain the infection by keeping the R-naught value below one, but cases began increasing in September and October.

"On the field, our frontliners face both mental and physical fatigue. But the virus is never tired. It will infect us when we take the SOP lightly. Our war fighting the virus continues, ” he said.

Dr Noor Hisham noted that the conditional MCO had proven effective as fewer cases have been reported, with Melaka and Terengganu reverting to a recovery MCO from Sunday (Nov 22).

For now, he said the R value is still between 0.9 and 1 – but this is not good enough.

"If we can bring it down to below 0.5, or better at 0.3 – just like before the third wave – then we can all go back to the recovery MCO, living like normal but adhering to SOPs," he said.

He also noted that the ministry would need official data from pharmaceutical firms developing Covid-19 vaccines to study their claimed effectiveness.

"We will need the dossiers and full clinical data before deciding on our vaccine policy.

"We cannot recognise them by just replying on media reports," he said.

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