MCO: Travels for necessities now restricted to 10 km

The government has imposed further restrictions on travel as part of its movement control order (MCO), gazetting a new rule that limits any sort of travel for food, medicine and other necessities to within a 10 km radius.

Citizens were previously advised to limit the distance travelled in a federal gazette issued on March 18, but the Prevention And Control of Infectious Diseases (Measures Within The Infected Local Areas) Regulations 2020 was in effect only until March 31.

That has now been superseded by a (No 2) revision, which is in effect from today until April 14 and puts a hard ceiling into writing. The new gazette also reiterates the one-person-per-vehicle rule that authorities began to enforce last week, with an exception only given if it is “reasonably necessary” for someone to accompany the driver, or if said driver is seeking healthcare or medical services.

Those on official duty or facilitating any essential services, meanwhile, will be required to produce an authorisation letter from their employer, if requested by an officer. Individuals who need to leave their house for any other “special and particular reason” will need to obtain prior written permission from a police officer at a station nearest to their residence.

MCO: Travels for necessities now restricted to 10 km

The gazette also whittles down the number of approved essential services to just 10, including food, water, energy, communications and internet, security and defence, waste and public cleansing management, banking and finance, e-commerce and logistics confined to the provision of the essential services listed.

Do note that while the 10 km radius rule seems rather lax, the gazette also states that individuals are only allowed to go to places that are closest to their residence, so even if you’re headed somewhere within the radius, the cops have every right to turn you around.

The new federal gazette is part of the stricter second phase of the order, which also restricts the opening hours of supermarkets and restaurants and the operating hours of public transport, taxi and ride-hailing services and food delivery services. Phase two kicked off today and will continue until April 14 when the order is slated to be lifted.

Again, we implore you to only leave your house if it is necessary, make it quick, and limit the distance travelled. Otherwise, do as the government says and just stay at home – it’s the best thing we as a society can do to control the spread of this coronavirus.