JOHOR BARU (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Inter-state and inter-district travel could be tightened to bring down the number of Covid-19 cases in Malaysia, said Health Minister Adham Baba on Saturday (Jan 9).
This comes after the country on Friday reported a record 16 deaths in one day linked to Covid-19, and also logged the highest number of patients in intensive care and those requiring ventilators to survive.
Datuk Seri Dr Adham said that besides the tightening of travel restrictions, the ministry also advised the National Security Council to carry out more stringent enforcement of Covid-19 standard operating procedures.
"Sporadic cases which are infections within the community and positive cases among foreign workers contribute greatly to the spike.
"Sporadic cases arise from inter-state travel or attending a gathering or social event," he said.
Dr Adham added the ministry had given its advice to the government on limiting inter-state or inter-district movement to curb the spread of Covid-19.
Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin is expected to make an announcement on Monday (Jan 11) following the spike in new Covid-19 cases in Malaysia.
In March last year, the government first imposed the movement curbs called movement control order (MCO) under the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act 1988 and well as the Police Act 1967, which covers a range of activities.
The order then entailed a ban on all mass gatherings for religious, sport, social and cultural activities.
All houses of worship and business premises were closed, with the exception of supermarkets, public markets, and sundry and convenience shops which sell daily essentials.
However, as the curve was flattened, the government slowly relaxed restrictions and opened up most industries and allowed most social-economic activities.
Under various types of MCO which included the conditional MCO, targeted MCO and recovery MCO, the situation was brought under control but a third wave in October pushed the cases up to more than 3,000 a day as of Thursday.
The third wave mostly comprises migrant workers in manufacturing.
On Friday, the country recorded 2,643 new cases of the coronavirus.
The ministry said on Friday that a record 170 patients were in intensive care units (ICU), the highest since the government began tracking the coronavirus pandemic.
There was also a record-high 82 patients who needed to be intubated.
The ministry has warned Covid-19 cases could hit 8,000 a day by the middle of March if the country's infectivity rate rises from the current level.