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Three Reasons Why Local Experts Are Urging The Government To Extend The RMCO

Three Reasons Why Local Experts Are Urging The Government To Extend The RMCO

The RMCO might be the only thing that can keep the public safe

Tasneem Nazari

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Although things mostly seem to have returned to normal, Malaysians need to remember that we’re still technically under a movement control order (MCO), albeit one with fewer restrictions aimed to help the local economy recover that will last until 31 August.

Health experts and a former Cabinet member believe the ongoing recovery movement control order (RMCO) will likely be extended past its initial expiry date, saying the Order is necessary for breaking the chain of Covid-19 transmission and keeping the public safe.

1. Enables the government to enforce SOPs

Former deputy health minister Dr Lee Boon Chye. (Credit: Malay Mail)

If it is totally lifted, it will be difficult for the ministry and the National Security Council to enforce physical distancing, standard operating procedures (SOP) and wearing of masks.

Dr Lee Boon Chye via Malay Mail

Speaking to Malay Mail, former deputy health minister Dr Lee Boon Chye explained that extending the MCO would allow the health minister to continue enforcing regulations that control infectious diseases.

Though, he reckons that it will likely be named differently and have fewer restrictions than its current version.

Dr Lee said that for the next few years, the public would need to learn to adapt to the SOPs while the government continues to strengthen its ability to control new cases and outbreaks.

This includes the ability to do mass testing when needed, the ability to do contact tracing efficiently via the MySejahtera App and via a special Covid-19 team led by public health officers, and our ability to guard the borders to prevent imported cases.

Dr Lee Boon Chye via Malay Mail

He also emphasised that the public should not make the fatal error of underestimating the pandemic.

2. Required if the public continues to defy orders

Malaysian Medical Association president Dr N. Ganabaskaran. (Credit: Malay Mail)

It might be a different situation if there had not been any new clusters. These new clusters have pushed the daily figures back to double digits. The series of non-compliance issues in the mandatory quarantines and SOPs has gone against all efforts to reduce cases of Covid-19 in the country.

Dr N. Ganabaskaran via Malay Mail

Malaysian Medical Association president Dr N. Ganabaskaran noted that if the public continues to struggle to comply with SOPs, we will likely be under some form of MCO for an extended period.

3. Super-spreader strain of Covid-19 virus

Medical Practitioners Coalition Association of Malaysia president Dr Raj Kumar Maharajah. (Credit: Malay Mail)

The RMCO should be extended by at least one more month, and reviewed again at the end of that month.

Dr Raj Kumar Maharajah via Malay Mail

Medical Practitioners Coalition Association of Malaysia president Dr Raj Kumar Maharajah opined that a contributing factor to extending the MCO is the discovery of the virulent D614G strain of the Covid-19 virus in Malaysia.

Dr Raj was referring to the Covid-19 virus strain mentioned by Health Director-General Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah.

Dr Noor Hisham announced that the Health Ministry detected the D614G-type mutation from isolation and culture tests on samples from four cases.

Three cases were from the Sivagangga cluster in Kedah, and one case was from the Ulu Tiram cluster in Johor.

Even if a vaccine comes about, there is no guarantee it will work properly as the vaccine may only work to prevent the existing mutation strain. Should we see further new emerging mutations and other virulent strains of Covid-19, the vaccine cannot prevent it from infecting inoculated individuals.

Dr Raj Kumar Maharajah via Malay Mail

He advised that due to the Covid-19 virus’ ability to continue mutating, the public should not become complacent even if new daily cases are in single digits, adding that the ever-changing aspect of the virus could affect the efficacy of a vaccine.


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