The government has announced the reimplementation of a movement control order (MCO) for the states of Selangor, Johor, Penang, Melaka, Sabah and the federal territories of Kuala Lumpur, Putrajaya and Labuan, and this will be in effect from January 13 (at 12.01 am) to January 26.

During the same period, a conditional movement control order (CMCO) will be applied to Pahang, Perak, Negeri Sembilan, Kedah, Terengganu and Kelantan, while a recovery movement control order (RMCO) will be in place for the states of Perlis and Sarawak.

The move, aimed at arresting the third-wave spread of Covid-19 which has seen a significant increase in daily cases, was announced by prime minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin in his special speech to the nation this evening.

He said that reinstating the MCO was necessary to curb the spread of the virus, which could possibly rise to as many as 8,000 cases a day by March if left unchecked. He added that the healthcare system was also at a breaking point and would not be able to cope if the situation continues unabated. The total number of Covid-19 cases stands at 138,224 as of today, January 11.

In the case of the MCO, this follows much of the protocols and standard operating procedures (SOP) applied during the first MCO, which ran from March 18-May 4 last year. Inter-state travel across the entire country is prohibited, and in states under the MCO, inter-district travel is also not permitted. In line with the travel ban, the government said that police roadblock operations will begin on January 13.

All social activity involving mass gatherings of people such as weddings/kenduris, conferences, meetings, seminars, courses, religious processions or group sporting events will not be permitted in states under the MCO. There will also be no in-place dining allowed in MCO states, with stalls and restaurants only permitted to do take-away and deliveries.

The government said it had identified five economic sectors that will be permitted to remain operational during the MCO period, and these are manufacturing; construction; trade, logistics and distribution; plantation and commodities, as well as essential services.

It added that only 30% of management staff will be allowed to be in the workplace, while the number of supporting staff or workers on site at any one time will have to be determined by the organisation, with strict SOPs in place. As for the list of essential services, these will be detailed by the ministry of international trade and industry (MITI) like previously.

Additionally, for states under the MCO, the previously seen 10 km radius limit for the purchase of food and necessities as well as for the seeking of healthcare and medical services has been reimplemented. Only two people will be allowed to travel in a car (as in Phase 4 of the MCO last year) when going out to shop for necessities or to seek medical services.

As before, any individual that is caught violating MCO rules will be slapped with a RM1,000 fine, and there will be no discount once a compound notice has been issued.

Also, as before, we remind everyone to heed the government’s fight against the pandemic by just staying at home. If it is absolutely necessary for you to get provisions, medical supplies and food, please make it fast and limit the distance travelled for those purposes. And please, don’t go rush out to buy groceries and supplies in the next 24 hours – you will still be able to shop for these during the MCO.

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