‘We opt to reopen economy’

PUTRAJAYA: The green light has been given for certain sectors in tourism and sports to be reopened, as the government looks towards easing more Covid-19 restrictions.

During a National Security Council (NSC) special meeting on Monday, the Tourism, Arts and Culture Ministry proposed several attractions such as the National Zoo and the Legoland theme park to be reopened, said Senior Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob (pic).

The Youth and Sports Ministry also recommended that more sporting activities, particularly outdoor sports, be allowed.

“In principle, the special meeting has agreed to the ministries’ proposal. However, the ministries have been asked to discuss with the Health Ministry and NSC to come up with a more detailed SOP, ” he said.

Ismail Sabri said the Covid-19 SOP and restrictions caused much damage to businesses and jobs.

“Companies have to be shut down. People have lost jobs. And this is despite them following Covid-19 restrictions and also testing negative for the virus.

“This is why we have chosen to reopen the economy, ” he told a press conference yesterday.

Furthermore, he said the government could not curtail the people’s movement “forever”.

“We know that Covid-19 will continue to be around us, just like other infectious diseases like dengue.

“The onus is on the public to stop the spread of Covid-19 by strictly adhering to the SOP, ” he said.

On another matter, Ismail Sabri said local authorities must take sterner action against operators of pubs and nightlife centres which flout the movement control order.

“Despite numerous warnings by the government, the number of people caught for activities in pubs continues to rise.

“On Dec 12,292 were nabbed for activities at pubs, the highest in a day so far, ” he said.

He said the ruling was clear about pubs and nightlife centres not being allowed to operate during the MCO period.

“I would like to remind local authorities not to compromise with these operators. Revoke the licences permanently if they are caught breaking this rule, ” he said.

As for the daily update on Covid-19 cases, Kuala Lumpur recorded the country’s highest number yesterday, with a majority of them linked to a construction site cluster.

Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said the city saw 696 confirmed cases, or 39% of Malaysia’s total of 1,772 infections yesterday.

He said 567 cases in Kuala Lumpur were linked to the Tapak Bina Damanlela construction site cluster, which had spread to six generations.

The Tapak Bina Damanlela cluster has been active since last month. It is linked to a construction site of a mall in Kuala Lumpur. So far, the cluster registered 2,451 cases.

The Tembok cluster, which is linked to the Alor Setar prison in Kedah, recorded another 99 infections. Cumulatively, it has had 2,906 cases since it was detected on Sept 30.

There are 673 patients related to the Tembok cluster who are still receiving treatment, with one in intensive care.

Another 2,227 have recovered and are discharged.

The country’s largest Covid-19 cluster – the Teratai cluster – reported nine more cases yesterday, bringing its total to 5,540.

Teratai is linked to workers of Top Glove. Its infections have spread to 13 districts in Selangor, Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya.

Dr Noor Hisham noted in a statement that no new cluster emerged yesterday.

Nationwide, there are 189 active clusters.

Malaysia’s caseload of cases came up to 86,618 yesterday.

A total of 1,084 Covid-19 patients were discharged, which means 71,681 people have recovered.

There were three deaths yesterday, raising Malaysia’s Covid-19 death toll to 422.

All the fatalities – a woman aged 45 and two men aged 75 and 88 – were recorded at the Duchess of Kent Hospital in Sandakan, Sabah.

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