It seems that there are still many who are willing to risk detention from flouting the restrictions imposed by the movement control order (MCO), gauging from the consistently high arrest rate since phase three of the order began.

Yesterday (April 19), 1,174 people were detained for MCO violations, and of these, 1,012 were remanded, while 162 were allowed to post bail, senior minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob revealed during his daily non-health press briefing earlier this evening.

The number of arrests was higher than on Saturday (April 18), when 1,111 individuals were detained (997 remanded, 114 allowed bail), but lower than Friday, when 1,565 people were arrested (1,381 remanded), 184 allowed bail). He added that cumulative number of arrests for MCO violations now stood at 15,924, and reminded the public not to be lax about things.

“I remind the public that the MCO continues on without any loosening of restrictions, and that everyone should continue to adhere to all rulings that apply. It is like people are relaxing, as if the MCO has ended, with many going out. The police will continue to arrest those who violate the order, as part of the tighter control measures in phase three,” he stated.

During the weekend, Ismail Sabri announced that 11 temporary prisons to house MCO violaters will begin operations from April 23. The health ministry will deploy its health workers to monitor those placed at the temporary prisons to ensure that social distancing will be observed.

The only positive from yesterday’s numbers was that the volume of traffic at police roadblocks continued to drop into the weekend, and by a considerable margin. On Friday (April 17), a total of 585,250 vehicles were checked at 816 roadblocks across the country, and this went down to 451,487 vehicles on Saturday. Yesterday, the number of vehicles inspected at roadblocks across the country dropped to 369,106 vehicles.

Over the past week, traffic volume has been consistently at the 550,000 vehicle mark, the congestion attributed to the opening of businesses in the additional permissible sectors announced by the government recently, with 70% of the additional volume coming from those involved in those industries. Some of that increase is also no doubt from some non-essential companies trying to restart operations, which is of course not allowed.

Happily, the number of new daily Covid-19 cases continues to drop, with just 36 cases being announced today, but it’s far from over, as the resurgence in other countries that seemed to have contained the spread shows – the advice remains, stay at home unless it’s for food and essentials, and if you do need to head out, stay within a 10 km radius (above that only for those seeking medical treatment or buying medicine) and remember to follow the one-person-per-car rule.

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