More relaxed MCO for some states

A welcome downgrade: States placed under conditional or recovery MCO status are allowed more freedom of movement and activity. — Bernama

PUTRAJAYA: Although the country is now under a more relaxed movement control order (MCO), interstate travel is still not allowed, to ensure that the Covid-19 infectivity rate goes down, says Senior Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob.

While announcing that Selangor, Johor, Kuala Lumpur and Penang would switch to conditional MCO, he said six states – Melaka, Pahang, Terengganu, Sabah, Putrajaya and Labuan – are joining Perlis in the recovery MCO category.

Kedah, Kelantan, Negri Sembilan, Perak and Sarawak remain under conditional MCO.

All this will take effect for 14 days beginning Friday, except for Sarawak where the order took effect yesterday until March 15.

While movement between Selangor and Kuala Lumpur – both under conditional MCO – are allowed, those from the two areas are not allowed to travel to Putrajaya, Ismail Sabri said.

“Putrajaya is under recovery MCO. Police permission is required for movements from Selangor and Kuala Lumpur unless it is for work, in which case a letter issued by the employer must be shown, ” he said.

States under conditional and recovery MCO can have more tourism activities at places like zoos, farms, edutainment centres, recreational parks, art galleries, museums, libraries, theme parks, spa, wellness, massages as well as manicure and pedicure services.

These activities are allowed from 6am to midnight or according to licencing conditions issued by local authorities.

Crowd capacity is limited to 50% in conditional MCO areas.

He said more states can also now hold official and social events such as birthdays, weddings, engagements, receptions, tahlil, thanksgiving prayers, reunions and retreats, but with adherence to the SOP as stipulated for conditional and recovery MCO areas.

“The National Security Council (NSC) special meeting has also agreed to allow inter-district travel within a state, with the exception of Sabah.

“In the case of Sabah, the state has applied for the inter-district travel ban to remain for another two weeks, ” he said at a media briefing yesterday.

The government had been enforcing MCO 2.0 since Jan 13 when the country saw a spike in the number of Covid-19 cases.

In making the decision, the NSC special meeting had heard a presentation by the Health Ministry on the Covid-19 situation nationwide and its proposals on the implementation of MCO after the current order ends on Thursday, he said.

He said the ministry confirmed that case numbers were showing a decline and the infectivity rate had gone down from 1.2 to 0.8.

“Health authorities had informed the NSC that cluster-based and sporadic cases as well as infectivity within the community are also declining, ” he said.

On another matter, the senior minister urged the public to have faith that the police would use their discretion when enforcing the Emergency Ordinance, especially when issuing fines against SOP violators.

Ismail Sabri explained that although fines had been increased to up to RM10,000, the police had said that the maximum compound would be imposed only on repeat and serious offenders.

“The Inspector-General of Police has explained this. Let us have confidence in them. I believe they know how to exercise their power, ” he said when asked about dissatisfaction voiced by the public on the sharp increase in fines against MCO violators under the Emergency (Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases) (Amendment) Ordinance 2021, to come into effect on March 11.

Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Abdul Hamid Bador had said that RM10,000 compounds would only be imposed on individuals who violated the MCO repeatedly, as well as those who trigger the spread of Covid-19.

He explained that the government’s decision to increase the compound from RM1,000 to RM10,000 was not for all offences related to violations of SOP.

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