No MCO for now, says health minister Dzulkefly

PUTRAJAYA, Dec 18: Whilst acknowledging the recent spike in COVID-19 cases in Malaysia, the government does not intend to reinstate restrictions such as the Movement Control Order (MCO) at present, says Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad.

“For the time being, we are not considering reinstating the MCO, although a lot of people are talking about it on X,” he said at a press conference on the latest status of COVID-19 at the Ministry of Health (MOH), here today. 

Despite increasing cases, the situation is still under control, and healthcare facilities are not burdened, as a result of MOH strengthening the COVID-19 Management Plan which outlines five main strategies, he said.

This includes early detection of COVID-19 and SARS-CoV-2 variants, community empowerment through the practice of TRIIS (test, report, isolate, inform, and seek treatment), and the digitalisation of pandemic management within the health system via the MySejahtera app. 

“For example, for early detection, it includes the Heightened Alert System that is constantly monitored, the nationwide sentinel surveillance such as ILI (Influenza Like Illness) and also surveillance of the sewage water environment in the community, as well as international entry points,” he said.

A total of 20,696 COVID-19 cases were reported during the 50th Epidemiology Week (ME) from Dec 10 to Dec 16, which is an increase of 62.2 percent compared to 12,757 cases in ME-49.

Dzulkefly said the majority of cases or about 97 percent were from categories one (asymptomatic) and two (mild symptoms), with 28 fatalities reported. 

Dr Dzulkefly said MOH and non-MoH agencies such as teaching hospitals, military hospitals, and private facilities are also prepared to face any influx of outpatients and admissions. 

“We are ready for the possibility of such a surge or wave. MOH is also closely monitoring the capacity of hospitals in terms of bed management and patient treatment,” he added.

He also advised people with co-morbidities such as high blood pressure, diabetes, and cancer to do a self-test if they have symptoms and report it via MySejahtera.

“If Malaysians do not report it on MySejahtera, it would be under-reporting which would then result in invalid figures for cases and deaths,” he said.

He also advised the public to always practise preventive measures, such as wearing face masks in public and enclosed areas, avoiding cramped and crowded areas, and getting the COVID-19 vaccine.