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Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Covid-19 restrictions extended, interstate travel still not allowed

 


The government has extended the movement control order (MCO) restrictions until mid-April ahead of its expiry tomorrow.

The new order is in force in Sarawak from today until April 12 and from April 1 until April 14 for the rest of the country.

Interstate travel remains restricted except for the “green travel bubble tourism” previously announced. Interdistrict travel is allowed, except in Sabah and Sarawak as decided by their respective state governments.

At his press conference today, Defence Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob (above) said although the overall number of Covid-19 cases has fallen since the last time the restrictions were extended a fortnight ago, the number of cases remains high and some states are seeing an unstable trend or even an increase in cases.

Thus, Selangor, Kuala Lumpur, Johor, Penang, Kelantan and Sarawak will remain under a conditional movement control order.

Likewise, Perlis, Kedah, Perak, Putrajaya, Malacca, Negeri Sembilan, Pahang, Terengganu, Sabah, and Labuan will remain under the more lenient recovery movement control order.

Kuala Muda in Kedah and Seremban in Negeri Sembilan, however, will still be subject to a conditional MCO due to a high incidence of Covid-19.

“The standard operating procedures are the same as usual,” Ismail Sabri said.

Among others, he noted that while Kuala Lumpur and Selangor have seen a reduction in the number of cases, Selangor still had many red zones while Kuala Lumpur had an increase in the number of orange zones.

Kelantan and Sarawak are both seeing an increasing number of cases and more places are turning into red zones.

The incidence of Covid-19 in Perak is low and declining, while Malacca’s increase in cases is confined to detention facilities.

For the record, since Jan 18, districts that are classified as red zones are those that have registered 41 or more Covid-19 cases in the past two weeks excluding cases that were imported into the district or occurred in detention facilities.

Likewise, green zones are districts with no cases over the past two weeks, yellow zones have one to 20 cases and orange zones have 21 to 40 cases.

Previously, the government had allowed interstate tourism between states under recovery movement control orders but only for tours managed by agencies accredited by the Tourism, Arts and Culture Ministry.

The government will only decide on whether to allow interstate travel for the Hari Raya Aidilfitri festivities in May. The festival is scheduled to fall on May 12.

Asked again on the lifting of the restrictions, the minister emphasised that the decision would be made based on the Health Ministry’s risk assessments.

“The prime minister outlined the possibilities that may happen but in the end, the (National Security Council) special sessions will make its decision based on the Health Ministry’s proposals.

“If the Health Ministry gives the green light, then the meeting will decide accordingly based on the ministry’s advice,” he said.

Ismail said this when asked about Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin’s statement on Saturday, where the premier reportedly said the government will study whether interstate travel and visits can be allowed in conjunction with Aidilfitri.

He also hinted at the possibility of allowing the Aidilfitri prayers as well as the takbir Raya and visits to neighbours' houses, according to a Bernama report. - Mkini

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