Health director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah says Malaysians should refrain from unnecessary travel even after the movement control order (MCO) is lifted. This includes both domestic and international travel.
He added that Malaysia’s success in containing COVID-19 is due to effective border control which could be negated once Malaysians start travelling abroad extensively. At the moment, international travel is prohibited and we can see cases being imported by returning Malaysians from overseas.
Dr Noor Hisham reiterated that the best preventive measure is to stay at home and to practise safe social distancing. Malaysians should continue to maintain a high level of cleanliness and hygiene which include washing hands frequently with soap and water.
When asked if the resumption of flights to neighbouring countries is possible, he said border control should be increased rather than relaxed. Dr Noor Hisham added that while other countries have quickly opened up their borders after ending their respective lockdown, Malaysia must be on guard for imported cases of COVID-19.
At the moment, all returning Malaysians have to undergo a mandatory 14-day quarantine at designed quarantine zones. As of today, there are a total of 251 imported cases reported since the 3rd of April when the mandatory quarantine rule was enforced. According to the Ministry of Health’s data, 172 cases are from Malaysians returning from Indonesia, followed by 23 from the United Kingdom and 18 from Singapore.
Malindo Air and AirAsia have resumed domestic flights this week with reduced frequency and increased safety measures. According to Senior Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob, the airlines which include Malaysia Airlines and Firefly are permitted to fly to meet flight service demand. He added that individuals must get police permission before they purchase their flight tickets. On top of that, those flying to Sabah and Sarawak must undergo mandatory 14-day quarantine once they arrive at the respective states.