KULAI (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Malaysia's health ministry has advised the National Security Council (NSC) and Prime Minister to extend existing curbs under the recovery movement control order (MCO) beyond its end date of Aug 31, as the country continues to tackle the Covid-19 pandemic.
Health Minister Adham Baba said the ministry had proposed that the restrictions should continue until the "situation was more under control". However it was up to the council and Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin to decide whether to extend the control order, he said.
"It depends on the Prime Minister, who will announce it (the decision) as the Aug 31 recovery MCO period is coming to an end, " he said after launching an event in Kulai on Sunday (Aug 23).
He was responding to a question on whether the government would extend the recovery MCO period as it was due to end in about a week.
Most businesses and schools have been allowed to reopen under the recovery MCO which began in June, however large gatherings, overseas travel and contact and spectator sports remain banned. The authorities have also imposed more stringent shutdowns in areas with high infection rates, closing down markets and only allowing takeaway services at restaurants.
The Star has highlighted views from medical experts and business groups calling for the recovery MCO to be extended, with many advising continuous vigilance despite the number of daily cases hovering around the single or low double digits.
Many experts have also argued that the emergence of coronavirus clusters in the northern states, especially the Tawar cluster in Kedah with 65 cases, one of the biggest active clusters, was due to people letting their guard down after the states saw few infections since late April.
Datuk Seri Dr Adham pointed out that according to the World Health Organisation, the Covid-19 pandemic would be around for at least two more years.
"We can see that other countries are still struggling with the increasing number of cases, including imported cases.
"For our country, we still need to control our entry points and borders well, " he said.