MCO extended in all Malaysian states, except Sarawak until February 18

KUALA LUMPUR (CNA) – Malaysia announced yesterday that it will extend the movement control order (MCO) for all states and federal territories, with the exception of Sarawak, from February 5-18.

Last month, all states in the country except Sarawak were placed under MCO from January 22 until February 4 to curb the spread of COVID-19.

Making the announcement in a televised press conference, Senior Minister for Security Ismail Sabri Yaakob said, “The Health Ministry confirmed that daily cases in all these states still show an upward trend, with positivity rate in clusters at between 20 per cent and 40 per cent.”

“Besides that, the sporadic spread within the community is also high, involving citizens as well as non-citizens.

“Hence, taking into account the risk evaluation and the Health Ministry’s advice, the special meeting today has decided to extend MCO 2.0 throughout the country from February 5-18, except Sarawak which will continue to be under conditional movement control order (CMCO).”

Interstate travel is still not permitted, the minister added.

When Malaysia was first placed under the MCO in March last year, almost all economic activities ceased, except for essential services such as food and beverage outlets and pharmacies.

The lockdown saw the country reduce its COVID-19 cases to single digits in the first half of 2020. MCO was replaced by CMCO and recovery movement control order (RMCO), while localised restrictions were introduced in areas with a spike in cases.

In contrast, this current MCO, dubbed ‘MCO 2.0’, has allowed more economic sectors to continue functioning, such as the automotive sector and retailers like gold and jewellery shops.

Malaysian police and army personnel man a roadblock in Bau-Serikin, Sarawak. PHOTO: BERNAMA