Full lockdown extended another two weeks

A general view of the quiet Penang Road heading towards Komtar in George Town, Penang on the first night of the lockdown. - Filepic ( June 01, 2021 ) - LIM BENG TATT/The Star.

PUTRAJAYA: The nationwide full lockdown will be extended for another two weeks starting June 15.

Senior Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said the decision was made after considering the high number of daily cases reported.

He said the National Security Council’s special meeting chaired by the Prime Minister yesterday heard a report and proposal presented by the Health Ministry.

“It has been decided that the lockdown will be extended for two weeks, taking effect from June 15 to 28, ” he said in a statement.

The lists of positive and negative activities as well as standard operating procedure for manufacturing businesses and industries remain unchanged.

“Since the dos and don’ts list as well as SOP are unchanged, I hope there will be no confusion in enforcing the SOP.

“I do not want the public to be affected by the wrong interpretation of SOP by enforcement bodies, ” said Ismail Sabri.

Sources said those who attended the meeting agreed that the lockdown should be extended.

“After listening to the (Health) ministry’s presentation, everyone shared the same view that there is a need for (the lockdown) to continue for another two weeks to see if the number of daily cases can be brought down, ” said a source.

The Star had reported that an extension of the current lockdown, scheduled to end on Monday, appeared to be inevitable due to the number of deaths and daily cases which has yet to dip below 4, 000.

Most members of the public interviewed by The Star agreed with the lockdown extension.

“The safest way is to extend it until we manage to flatten the curve. Perhaps when we record hundreds of cases, only then do we ease the restrictions, ” said human resources executive Josephine Hyew, 31, who resides in Petaling Jaya.

Assistant manager Sanjith Krishnan, 39, who is based in the Klang Valley, said a longer lockdown was painful but necessary.

“I personally miss hanging out with my friends and meeting my siblings in my hometown in Penang.

“Nevertheless, I think the current restrictions should stay, with stricter enforcement.

“Not everyone is adhering to the restrictions strictly and sometimes making unnecessary trips. I can’t imagine if the government were to relax the restrictions.”

Director of a software company, Gwee Chee Seng, 55, also agreed that the lockdown should be extended.

“As a businessman, I am affected by the lockdown but I think the government should extend it. We will not see the cases going down if the government relaxes the restrictions now.

“Let’s wait for a month and see if the number of cases will go down, ” he said, adding that new Covid-19 variants were also a concern.

He also said that if the government eased the restrictions now, some might start making unnecessary trips. “Some people are stubborn; they will start moving around, ” he added.

Retired teacher Chong Poh Keng, 58, from Ipoh, agreed with the two-week extension but added that it should not go any further.

“I think two weeks should be the maximum as the lockdown is taking a toll on businesses that do not fall under the essential sectors, ” she said, adding that the public had a crucial part to play in helping more sectors reopen.

“I hope everyone will be disciplined in adhering to the standard operating procedure because our frontliners are working hard for us, ” she said.

On May 28, the Prime Minister announced that the country would go into a full lockdown for 14 days from June 1, with only essential economic and service sectors allowed to operate.

At the time, the healthcare system was thought to be near breaking point as the number of Covid-19 cases had breached the 8, 000 mark and new variants had emerged.

Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin had said then that should the first phase of lockdown succeed in reducing the number of daily cases, the government would move to a second phase of four weeks with certain economic sectors to open, provided no large gatherings are involved and physical distancing is practised.

“After that, Phase Three would start with the implementation of a movement control order where no social activities are allowed, ” he had added.

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