Lockdown to be relaxed once daily cases drop below 4,000, says PM

PETALING JAYA: The lockdown during the first phase of the movement control order (MCO) enforced since June 1 will be lifted once cases fall below 4,000 a day, says Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin (pic).

In his special address on Tuesday (June 15), Muhyiddin said there were four phases for the National Recovery Plan, and that phase two of the MCO would see the reopening of the economy in phases, where 80% of the workforce would be allowed back in the workplace.

Phase two will begin once 10% of the population receives both Covid-19 vaccination doses.

"Phase two is a continuation from phase one where social activities and restrictions on movement are controlled," he said.

However, he said interstate travel and social activities would still not be allowed during phase two.

Muhyiddin also said only listed sectors will be allowed to operate while unlisted sectors will be ordered to remain closed.

"The positive list from phase one will also be expanded during phase two by improving several sectors," he said.

Among the sectors added to the positive list during phase two are the manufacturing industry such as cement production, to ensure continuity of permitted construction works, as well as the sale of electronic items and computers for those who work from home.

"During phase two, with the approach of the positive list, manufacturing activities, construction, retail and services that are not listed – such as textile manufacturing and furniture shops – will remain closed," he added.

The government will consider moving on to phase three of the National Recovery Plan where all economic sectors can reopen – except for high-risk activities – if the country manages to lower the number of daily cases to below 2,000, he said.

Muhyiddin said this phase would also be considered when the national healthcare system reaches a level where intensive care units are able to function at adequate levels and where 40% of the country's population has received both doses of the vaccine.

"This threshold is expected to be reached at the earliest by the end of August," he said.

Muhyiddin said the country would enter phase four of the National Recovery Plan once daily Covid-19 cases dip below 500 and 60% of the population has been fully vaccinated.

He said based on estimates of the implementation of the National Covid-19 Immunisation Plan, this can be achieved as early as the end of October.

Muhyiddin said phase four, the final phase of the National Recovery Plan, is where life will return to normalcy.

"All economic sectors will be opened and more social activities will be allowed. Interstate travel will be allowed and domestic travel will be open subject to strict SOPs.

"This phase will be implemented when Covid-19 cases are low, the national healthcare system is at a safe level and the vaccination programme has achieved herd immunity status by the end of the year," he said.

The text of the Prime Minister's speech is as follows:

YAB Tan Sri Dato' Haji Muhyiddin Bin Haji Mohd Yassin, Prime Minister Of Malaysia

National Recovery Plan: MCO Transition By Phases


Assalamualaikum Warahmatullahi Wabarakatuh and Salam Sejahtera,

Apa khabar semua? I hope all of you are well.

1. On May 28, 2021, the Government decided to implement the First Phase of the Movement Control Order (MCO) nationwide from 1st June to 14th June, 2021, and it has been extended for another two weeks until 28th June, 2021.

2. Phase One of the MCO came into force after taking into account the high prevalence of Covid-19 cases in the community and the emergence of new variants with high infectivity that threatened our public health system.

3. The National Covid-19 Immunisation Program (PICK) was also still in the early stage of its implementation with the supply of vaccines expected to be more stable starting this month (June).

4. The decision to implement this MCO has successfully curbed an exponential surge of new cases. The Health Ministry projected the daily Covid-19 cases would have exceeded 13,000 if total lockdown was not implemented, and our public health system would have collapsed.

5. Alhamdullilah with the First Phase of the MCO, we begin to witness a flattening trend of the Covid-19 infection graph, with 4,949 cases recorded yesterday against the height of 9,020 recorded on 29th May 2021. Our health system has been able to accommodate new cases of infection while recording high number of patient recoveries. This proves that all the measures taken by the Government have borne fruits. We have avoided a catastrophe.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

6. The decision to implement the MCO is not an easy one. In terms of the economy, our country is losing RM1bil a day during this phase of MCO. I have announced earlier Pemerkasa Plus, an economic stimulus and financial aid package worth RM40bil with a fiscal injection of RM5bil. I hope the aid from the government will ease the burden of affected individuals and businesses.

7. However, we cannot continue to remain in this predicament. For the sake of our health and livelihoods, we need to get out of this crisis immediately.

8. Today, I would like to announce the National Recovery Plan, an exit strategy to be carried out in phases, to bring us out of this Covid-19 pandemic quagmire.

9. This plan was drawn up taking into account every possible consideration to ensure the decisions made will safeguard the lives and livelihoods of all of us.

10. It also takes into account the threat of Covid-19 already in the community and the high number of active cases in hospitals.

11. This plan serves as a guide and has been meticulously formulated based on data and science to enable us all to return to normalcy.

12. In addition, the increase in the supply of 16 million doses of vaccines by the end of July as well as the ramping up of the daily vaccination rate, have given us the confidence to embark on this National Recovery Plan.

13. The situation now is very different compared to a year ago when we first imposed the MCO and vaccines were unavailable. The only way out at that time were lockdowns and public health interventions to break the chain of infections. It was a very painful situation because continuous lockdowns had badly affected our livelihoods and yet, we did not know exactly when and how we were able to get out of the woods.

14. Today, with the arrival of greater supply of vaccines and the rapid rollout of the vaccination program, we are able to see light at the end of the tunnel. At the start of the PICK, the vaccination rate was between

5,000 and 8,000 doses per day, but gradually increased to 50,000 and 80,000 daily around May. Yesterday in fact, the daily vaccination rate has reached 197,963 doses, and I am confident that all efforts will be intensified to exceed 300,000 doses a day in the coming months.

15. Not only have we successfully vaccinated almost all our frontliners but more than 50% of those aged 60 and above have received their first dose, and we will continue to prioritise the vulnerable group, such as those with comorbidities and later on, those aged 18 and above. The government is also studying the vaccination for our children, aged 12 to 17.

16. Indeed, this positive development in daily vaccination rate has bolstered Government's confidence that the National Recovery Plan would be successfully implemented, together with the support of all. With more people inoculated, we can relax some of the restrictions, open more economic and social sectors and move safely and in an organised manner towards pre-pandemic days, God willing.

17. With the ramping up of vaccination rate and continuous public health measures, I am confident that the number of Covid-19 infections will continue to decline. The experiences of other countries have shown a significant decline in the number of daily cases when vaccinations were ramped up. This has assisted in the implementation of our comprehensive National Recovery Plan.

18. The National Recovery Plan strategy encompasses four phases, involving gradual transitions that will be carried out in stages. Each phase

of the Recovery Plan is formulated based on data of three main thresholds to enable us to move from one phase to the next.

The First Indicator is the Covid-19 transmission in the community based on daily cases of infection:

The Second Indicator is the capacity of our public health system based on bed utilisation in ICU wards, and

The Third Indicator is the inoculation rate based on the percentage of people who have completed their two vaccine doses.

19. This phase-by-phase approach begins with Phase One, which is the current MCO in force amidst a situation where the number of Covid cases is high, the public health system is at a critical level and low vaccination rate.

20. The Government will consider transitions from the First Phase to the Second Phase when:

– The average Covid-19 daily cases declines below 4,000;

– The public health system is no longer at a critical stage, including bed utilisation in ICUs at a moderate level; and

– 10% of the population have received 2 doses of vaccine.

21. The Second Phase is a continuation of the First Phase with social activities and movement control remain unchanged. Under the Second Phase;

– Opening of economic activities in stages with up to 80% of working capacity at the premises.

– The positive list approach is continued i.e. only listed sectors are allowed to operate while those unlisted ones will remain closed. The positive list from Phase One will be expanded under Phase Two, and

– Social activities and interstate travels are still not allowed.

22. The additional sectors in the positive list of Phase Two will include manufacturing activities such as cement production to ensure continuity in construction activities and retail activities such as electronics and computers are to support those who are working from home. Throughout Phase Two, there will be some manufacturing, construction, retail activities and services that are not listed under the positive list, and will not allowed to operate such as textiles and furniture shops.

23. The Third Phase involves the transition from the positive list approach to the negative list approach where all economic activities are allowed to operate, except for those that are a high risk for Covid-19 infections

24. We can move on to the Third Phase if we succeed in achieving the following thresholds:

– The average daily Covid-19 cases dropped below 2,000;

– The public health system is at a manageable level with bed usage in ICUs reduced to an adequate level; and

– 40% of the population have received two doses of vaccines.

25. These thresholds are expected to be achieved at the earliest by the end of August 2021.

26. Under the Third Phase:

– All sectors of the economy are allowed to operate, except for activities that are on the negative list - activities that pose high infection risks or involve big number of people/crowds.

– The capacity of the economic sector will remain at 80% as per Phase Two.

– Certain social activities, such as education and sports will be allowed in stages.

27. Under Phase Three, all manufacturing activities will be allowed to operate, subject to SOPs and capacity limits. The negative list under Phase Three where high-risk activities involving crowds such as the organisation of conventions where social distancing cannot be practised, pubs, spas and beauty salons are still not allowed. Capacity limits will be relaxed once employees have been vaccinated.

28. I pledge my commitment that the Parliamentary session can convene in this phase, around the months of September or October, subject to stringent SOPs. My stance from the very beginning has always been that the Democratic Parliamentary system should be able to function once again after the Covid-19 cases are well under control and when we are close to achieving herd immunity. I will continue to uphold the principles of Parliamentary Democracy and Constitutional Monarchy. No quarters should create any restlessness and confusion among the public that disrupt the Government on-going efforts in curbing Covid-19 pandemic.

29. From Phase Three, we will move on to the Fourth Phase once we have succeeded in achieving the following thresholds:

– The average daily Covid-19 cases dropping to below 500 cases;

– The public health system is at a safe level, including bed usage in ICUs at an adequate level; and

– 60% of the population fully vaccinated.

30. Based on projections of the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme, this transition is expected to take place the earliest by the end of October 2021.

31. The Fourth Phase is the final phase of the National Recovery Plan where we can return to normalcy our daily life. This entails the opening of all economic sectors while more social activities will be allowed, the same with interstate travels and domestic tourism but subject to strict SOPs.

32. This phase can only be implemented once Covid-19 cases are low, the public health system is at a safe level and herd immunity is achieved latest by the end of this year.

33. This is a dynamic plan in which if we succeed in achieving all three indicators in any of the phases, the Government can decide to proceed to the next phase.

34. All SOPs under these phases that I mention earlier will be detailed out by the National Security Council (NSC) and announced in the near future.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

35. I often receive requests for sports activities such as football matches be allowed with spectators in attendance at stadiums, social gatherings be allowed to be held, and the most number of requests were appeals to visit their parents, relatives and their loved ones. Be patient. At this point of time, we are unable to carry on with these activities. We must prioritise all efforts to break the chain of Covid-19 infections.

36. Insya-Allah, once we have achieved herd immunity in the Fourth Phase, all these can be done in stages with strict adherence to SOPs. Our ability to achieve herd immunity depends on the number of Malaysians being vaccinated.

37. Alhamdullilah, so far more than 4.5 million doses of vaccines have been administered to Malaysians, with 3.2 million have received their first dose while 1.4 million have completed two doses of the vaccines. Insya-Allah, more people will get their vaccination appointments and have the opportunity to get their first dose as we receive more vaccine supply starting this month.

38. For those who have yet to register, please do so immediately using the MySejahtera app. To date, registration stands at 13.8 million. Our target is to ensure that at least 26 million people in Malaysia are vaccinated by the end of this year in order to achieve herd immunity.

39. In the meantime, we must continue to be patient and disciplined. Practise self-discipline despite being vaccinated. Please wear face masks in public, avoid crowded places, always wash your hands and make sure you are always in a well-ventilated space. The more disciplined we are,

the lower the Covid-19 cases, the more people vaccinated, Insya-Allah, the faster we move towards achieving herd immunity, god willing the faster we can emerge out of this crisis. The more we exercise self-discipline by complying to the SOPs and get ourselves vaccinated, the sooner we can get out of this crisis.

40. I understand that many of you are feeling anxious, scared and affected by this pandemic both physically and emotionally. Though, some of you may have lost your loved ones, faced a reduction in income and shrouded in prolonged anxiety, we must never give up. We must continue to fight, unite and be together in ensuring the success of this National Recovery Plan. I promise that the Government will continue to help the best we can, and we will not give up in finding ways to get out of this crisis soonest possible.

41. We owe it all to Malaysia to fight these threats that this pandemic has caused to our collective future, and to usher in a new dawn. We must remain steadfast and resolute in our commitment to fight and win this war against Covid-19. We must never waiver, and defeat is just simply not an option. It is my sincere hope that this National Recovery Plan will guide us cautiously but progressively towards reclaiming our much treasured freedom while doing all we can to protect the lives and livelihoods of Malaysians. I am cautiously optimistic that with proper planning, execution and support from all Malaysians, we can emerge victorious and stronger from the crisis.

42. Ultimately, the greatest lesson that Covid-19 can teach humanity is that we are all in this together. We are a strong nation and people who have proven our mettle in overcoming all past crises that have befallen

our nation. We have a collective responsibility to each other and to our families and friends."

43. To you Allah we humbly beg for Your comfort and protection and He is the best of helpers.

Stay Safe

Protect Yourself, Protect All

Resilient as One, Together We Triumph

Wabillahi al-taufik walhidayah wassalamu'alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh.

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