Rapid infectivity rates influence lockdown decision

“To date, a total of 2,552 people have died as a result of this pandemic and the number of deaths is increasing. The existence of new, more aggressive variants with high and rapid infectivity rates also influenced today’s decision,” the statement said.

The MKN special session was chaired by Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin this evening.

The statement also said that with the increase in daily cases showing a sharp upward trend recently, the capacity of hospitals nationwide to treat Covid-19 patients has become increasingly limited.

The government will also implement a second phase lockdown, allowing the reopening of some economic sectors that do not involve large gatherings and that can comply with physical distancing if the first phase succeeds in reducing Covid-19 daily cases.

This second phase will be enforced for four weeks after the first phase ends.

“Once the second phase ends, the next step is to enter the third phase, which is to implement the Movement Control Order (MCO) as enforced currently,” the PMO said.

Presently, the MCO bars social activities while almost all economic sectors are allowed to operate subject to strict standard operating procedures (SOP) as well as limited physical presence in the workplace.

However, the decision to move from one phase to the next will be subject to a risk assessment by the Health Ministry (MoH) based on daily case developments and the capacity of hospitals nationwide to treat Covid-19 patients, the statement said.

The government will also ensure that the country’s public health system will not collapse and various support and assistance will be given to the MOH to increase hospital capacity nationwide.

“The government will also increase the number of vaccinations in the next few weeks to achieve herd immunity,” the statement read.

Following the lockdown decision, the Ministry of Finance will detail out assistance packages for affected people and economic sectors.

“An announcement on the assistance packages will be made soon. The people are advised to remain disciplined and always adhere to the SOP set to break the Covid-19 chain of infection.

“The best is to stay at home so that we can flatten the Covid-19 curve together,” the statement read.

Malaysia recorded 8,290 Covid-19 cases today, the highest daily number reported since the pandemic hit the country in January last year. – Bernama