Will MCO be extended or lifted? PM to announce decision at 4pm today

Emmanuel Santa Maria Chin

Police and Army personnel join forces to man the roadblocks at the entrance and exits to Balik Pulau at Jalan Tun Sardon in Penang April 10, 2020. — Picture by Sayuti Zainudin

KUALA LUMPUR, April 10 — Malaysians will find out in just several hours if the ongoing movement control order (MCO) will be extended or will be lifted with Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin set to make the announcement at 4pm today. 

The nationwide MCO has been enforced since March 18 and was initially supposed to end on March 31, before it was extended until April 14. 

The order was invoked by the Health Ministry under the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act 1988 and the Police Act 1967, to break the chain of the Covid-19 coronavirus infection and contain the outbreak locally. 

Malaysia had managed to contain the local outbreak of Covid-19 during the initial wave, with only 22 cases reported and all discharged by early March, but things went downhill after a week-long political coup that resulted in the change of government. 

In just over a month, the number of local cases has spiked from 22 to 4,228, with the biggest infection cluster coming from a tabligh gathering that was held during the week of political instability, with 1,701 confirmed infections as of April 9. 

Daily infections have been tipping the 100-mark almost daily, but the number of recoveries has also increased with 1,608 cured and discharged as of yesterday, with 67 deaths in total so far. 

A survey ran by local news agency Bernama showed that most Malaysians are for the extension of the MCO if it meant their future safety, with a spokesperson from the Selangor state police headquarters yesterday expressing how the force are prepared for an extension if announced. 

Among others who are calling for the MCO be extended are health and medical experts and practitioners, who warned against future waves of infections if social interaction is not contained. 

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