The Movement Control Order (MCO) has now entered its second phase. Effective 1st April, there are a few new guidelines for the public to help better ensure that the COVID-19 pandemic is contained effectively.
The new directives were made by Defence Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri during the daily COVID-19 press conference yesterday (31 March).
Stricter rules have been implemented, which includes limiting the operational hours of supermarkets or any premises that sell essential items, public transport, petrol stations, restaurants, home food delivery as well as for taxi and e-hailing services.
From now till the 14th of April, all hypermarkets, supermarkets, eateries opened for packed food, food delivery services, and petrol stations will operate from 8 am to 8 pm.
The government is also encouraging contactless delivery, where items are left outside the customer’s house and collected without any contact with the deliverer.
Operational hours for all public transportation, including taxis and e-hailing services, are from 6 am to 10 pm, while transportation of essential goods such as food supplies have been encouraged to limit their delivery services from 7pm till 7am only.
For private vehicles, only one person is allowed to be in a car at one time.
All social gatherings and activities such as the ones in mosques and suraus are cancelled. This rule has been implemented since the first week of the MCO and includes all religious activities involving other religions too that may be held in churches or temples. Recreational activities are not allowed in any area, including gated ones.
According to Ismail, flexibility is only given to those with autism and the disabled, so they can get therapy based on the advice of their doctors, but sessions cannot be conducted in a large group.
As of 29 March, there has been an increase in arrests with 828 people detained so far for disobeying the MCO rules at roadblocks nationwide.
"This shows that the police have started to take firmer action,” he said.
Ismail confirmed that there are 67,774 police, military, Malaysia Civil Defence Force (APM) and People's Volunteer Corps (Rela) officers mobilised on a daily basis and their number will soon be increased if necessary.
The police and military are conducting 1,520 roadblocks all over the country and have checked at least 257,287 vehicles. Roadblocks will also be increased to 114 toll plazas nationwide
On top of that, the National Security Council has imposed a ceiling price of RM1.50 for a three-ply surgical mask, a reduction from the previous RM2 limit.
“We will review the price from time to time, and if the costs can be lowered, we will reduce the ceiling price accordingly, ” Ismail said.
Meanwhile, the government has also conducted major public cleaning and sanitization exercises beginning in the six areas identified as COVID-19 red zones.
More measures are expected to be announced in the coming days, so keep yourself up to date and stay safe everyone!
By: Siti Farhana Sheikh Yahya