Dr Noor Hisham says Malaysia still in Covid-19 recovery phase, not yet time to plan exit strategy

Emmanuel Santa Maria Chin
Workers prepare their shops for business during the conditional movement control order (CMCO) in Jalan Masjid India in Kuala Lumpur May 5, 2020. — Picture by Firdaus Latif

KUALA LUMPUR, June 6 — The Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act 1998 (Act 342) will still be enforced and employed as a guideline for authorities, as more economic sectors are allowed to reopen, Health Director-General Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said today.

Dr Noor Hisham said Malaysia has yet to reach the stage to consider an exit strategy, explaining that the country is still going through the recovery phases of the pandemic.

“Right now, we are not yet prepared for an exit strategy, and we are still using Act 342, which will be used as a guide to monitor and control as we reopen more sectors.

“However, border control will still be enforced for Malaysians returning from abroad where they will blocked from entering and screened; at the same time, we will not encourage Malaysians to travel abroad,” he said during his daily Covid-19 press briefing.

He was asked whether it is time for an exit strategy to be drafted out, seeing more economic sectors are being allowed to resume operations, and whether Act 342 would still be enforced by the ministry.

In the event a new cluster is discovered, Dr Noor Hisham said the enforcement of Act 342 will see either an enforced movement control order (EMCO) or semi-enforced movement control order (SEMCO) implemented on the affected areas that records new infections.

“This (EMCO/SEMCO) will involve us cordoning and sealing off the locality and screening each and every resident in the area regardless if they are foreigners or locals.

Once positive cases have been detected, Dr Noor Hisham said they would be isolated, and if they have close contacts, they too would be quarantined and tested.

“So it’s important for us to use Act 342 and by doing so we have empowered the police, the Armed Forces, the People’s Volunteer Corps and other agencies to assist MOH in enforcing the Act,” he added.

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