Sarawak has given the green light to the ‘two people per household’ shopping rule that was announced by senior minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob yesterday. This is a relaxation of the one-person-per-car ruling that has been in place throughout the movement control order (MCO) period.

This was announced today by deputy chief minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas, who is also the state disaster management committee chairman.

“We will now allow two immediate family members to travel in a car or on a motorcycle for the purpose of buying food, medicine, daily necessities, dietary supplements or any other goods from any provider of essential services or to seek healthcare and medical services,” he said in a statement, reported by Malay Mail. Prior to this, Sarawak allowed farmers to travel in the same vehicle for the purpose of harvesting crops.

Yesterday, when met by reporters after Ismail Sabri announced the relaxed rule for MCO phase four, Uggah wasn’t ready to make the declaration, saying that he had not received detailed information and “we’ll wait and see” pending a state disaster management committee decision.

“We have to be extremely careful when making any crucial decision at this very critical time for this can have momentous and far-reaching impact in the state. We are, after all, still vigorously fighting the Covid-19 pandemic,” he stressed, adding that this is all the more important in view of fake news flooding social media.

The announcement by Ismail Sabri in his daily non-health briefing yesterday was part of regulations defined in the Federal Gazette – Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases (Measures within Infected Local Areas) (No.4) Regulations 2020, published on April 28 and in effect till May 12.

In it, under “conditions for movement” a person “may be accompanied by one family member staying in the same house” when going out to purchase food, medicine and daily necessities.

The allowance for an extra person was already available in phase three for those seeking healthcare or medical services, where it was stated a person “may be accompanied by any other person as may be reasonably necessary.”

The 10 km radius limit for the purchase of food and necessities as well as for the seeking of healthcare and medical services remains, with permission to allow travel beyond the stipulated 10 km if such food, medicine, dietary supplement, medical services or other goods and necessities are not available within the 10 km zone.