Malaysia’s movement control order (MCO) imposed to control the spread of COVID-19 will enter a “recovery phase” beginning June 10 until August 31, Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin said on Sunday.
Muhyiddin said the recovery phase is part of the country’s exit strategy from the MCO, following a downward trend in the infection rate.
“Malaysia has successfully contained the spread of the pandemic and will now enter the recovery phase,” he said.
Under the recovery, “almost all” social, educational, religious and business activities, as well as economic sectors will reopen in phases, with standard operating procedures to be adhered to, Muhyiddin said.
“Interstate travel will be allowed, except for areas placed under enhanced MCO, while the country’s borders will remain closed”, the prime minister said.
As of Saturday, Malaysia reported a total of 8,303 COVID-19 cases and 117 deaths. Close to 80% of the patients have recovered.
The MCO was initially enforced when the number of daily new cases saw an alarming three-figure spike. Under the MCO, domestic and international travel was barred, and people were encouraged to stay at home to break the infection chain.
After six weeks of economic inactivity, Malaysia eased into a “conditional MCO” beginning May 4, allowing almost all economic sectors to reopen.
To regenerate the country’s economy, stimulus packages worth RM295 billion (US$69 billion) in total have been rolled out.
In his Sunday address, Muhyiddin said schools will reopen in stages during the recovery MCO phase, pending further announcements from the Ministry of Education.
The prime minister said the country will enter a normalization phase after Aug 31, until a COVID-19 vaccine is available.
The government will enforce enhanced MCO in areas with a spike in positive COVID-19 cases. “I hope all of us will have discipline so that a rise in COVID-19 cases can be prevented,” he said.