Malaysia Bagus News
Malaysia Bagus News
PETALING JAYA: An economist and a former deputy minister have backed calls for the lockdown to be eased in states which have shown improvements in handling the Covid-19 pandemic.
Economist Geoffrey Williams of the Malaysia University of Science and Technology(MUST) urged Putrajaya to let state governments decide when to ease up on lockdowns, and former deputy health minister Dr Lee Boon Chye said it would make good sense to vary the severity of lookdowns according to rates of infection at different locations.
Williams said the deteriorating economic situation had made it urgent for the government to try to end the national lockdown.
He noted the varying incidences of infection across the country and said the government should delegate to the states the authority to decide on lockdowns and give them the support they might need.
Lee said the reopening of businesses in states with low numbers of cases should not come with a disregard for SOPs.
“The usual public health measures such as strict adherence to physical distancing and the continued enforcement of pandemic SOPs must be followed,” he said.
If cases were to show up, he said, contact tracing and testing must be carried out.
“The isolation of close contacts must be faster than the rate of virus transmission to ensure the virus does not spiral out of control,” he said.
Williams, noting that the World Health Organization did not support lockdowns as a general policy because of their devastating social and economic effects, said it was obvious that the Malaysian lockdown was not working.
“Also, current indicators such as case numbers, positivity rates and infectivity rates have not been useful at all because they are highly dependent on the number of tests,” he said.
“To lower cases, you can simply lower testing. So you can’t use the indicators as a guide as a policy.”
Lee called for a “sustainable MCO” that would not cause complications that might add to the setbacks the economy was already experiencing.
With the lockdown extended indefinitely, there have been calls for the government to manage movement restrictions differently in states and localities with fewer Covid-19 cases.
The calls have come from various quarters, including the Malaysian Trades Union Congress, the Malaysian Employers Federation, Umno vice-president Mohamed Khaled Nordin and Penang chief minister Chow Kon Yeow.
Sabah is sticking by its decision to relax some SOPs in the state.
Perlis, which has the fewest number of cases, is already thinking of moving on to Phase 2 of the national recovery plan. Kelantan and Terengganu are also planning to ease out of Phase 1 soon.
Yesterday, senior minister for security Ismail Sabri Yaakob said the government is looking at the thresholds for transitioning into Phase 2 of the national recovery plan at the various state levels.
Ismail said imposing Phase 1 nationwide would be unfair to states performing better in terms of managing Covid-19, such as Perlis which had recorded single-digit cases over the past week.
He said the National Security Council (MKN) was coming up with the gauges for the respective states, including a threshold based on the number of cases per 100,000 residents.
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