Coronavirus: Malaysia to allow some sectors to ramp up work from half to full capacity

These companies must comply with government guildelines. PHOTO: REUTERS

PETALING JAYA (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Malaysia will allow several economic sectors which are already operating at half capacity during the movement restrictions, to ramp up their work to full capacity from Wednesday (April 29), said International Trade and Industry Minister Azmin Ali.

But he said that these companies must comply with government guidelines in their respective sectors, such as social distancing measures.

"Those that fail to do so will be terminated and immediate legal action will be taken.

"Companies that have already been approved need not apply to Miti (Ministry of International Trade and Industry)," Datuk Seri Azmin said in a statement on Tuesday (April 28).

"While the government has allowed some leniency, business owners still need to adhere to the 'new normal' by following social distancing rules in the workplace and health control guidelines," he added.

Sectors allowed to operate at half capacity during the movement control order (MCO) that was imposed from March 18 included machinery and aerospace industries, the export-oriented automotive industry, several types of construction projects such as those in tunnelling works and slope maintenance along with hardware, electrical and electronic shops.

Tuesday was the 42nd day of the movement curbs.

Malaysia on Tuesday reported 31 new coronavirus cases, the lowest since March 12, raising the cumulative total to 5,851.

It reported one new death, to bring total fatalities to 100.

Malaysia also discharged 75 more patients in the same 24-hour span, which means 4,032 patients have recovered from Covid-19 since the outbreak began in the country.

Malaysia's Covid-19 recovery rate is now at 68.91 per cent out of the total number of positive cases.

Officials have said the country is in the "recovery phase" of the coronavirus, with new daily cases in double-digits in the last two weeks - a far cry from the triple digits in March and early April.

"We are now in a recovery phase. We have been able to flatten the curve and have prevented the exponential surge of cases," said the Health Ministry's director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah on Tuesday.

According to Mr Azmin, the Economic Action Council (EAC) held a meeting with Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin on Monday morning to discuss the economic crisis and possible remedies.

He said a separate meeting involving the National Security Council (NSC), which also included Tan Sri Muhyiddin, menteri besars and chief ministers, agreed to allow economic sectors that are already operating to begin operations at full capacity without any time constraints.

Mr Azmin said the EAC meeting focused on the need to "restart and revive" the overall economic supply chain that would help businesses to "operate fully, rebuild affected stocks, as well as to enable efficient delivery of services and goods to customers".

Meanwhile, the NSC which is coordinating work in the fight against the coronavirus is finalising new standard operating procedures for Covid-19 green zones, said Senior Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob.

These procedures will remove some of the restrictions imposed under the MCO.

"For green zones, we are thinking about allowing some relaxed rules but these will come with SOPs. For example, in gated housing areas or flats, if there have been no Covid-19 cases for more than a month, and no symptoms, we can grant some freedom, like leaving their units, going downstairs to move about, and taking the kids out," he said on Tuesday, at his daily press briefing.

Green zones are districts across the country that have been declared free of the virus after a two-week quarantine.

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