MOH outlines six criteria before MCO can be lifted

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PUTRAJAYA, April 22 – The Ministry of Health (MOH) has outlined six criteria that should be met before the government can lift the Movement Control Order (MCO).

Health director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said they are security control, movement control, capability of the country’s healthcare system, ability to protect the high-risk group,  practice the new normal and implement preventive measures in the community.

“We are monitoring our data everyday on whether the MCO will be extended or not. We have not yet made a decision, but for sure,  we have six criteria that have to be met before the MCO can be lifted,”  he told at daily press conference on COVID-19 here yesterday.

Dr Noor Hisham said border control is crucial to prevent people with infection coming to Malaysia.

So far, 95 Malaysians who returned from overseas brought the virus with them, where they were screened and placed at quarantine centres for treatment, he said, adding that 68 of them returned from Indonesia, 12 from the United Kingdom, Singapore (five), Turkey (four), the Netherlands (three), United States of America (two) and France (one).

He said attention should also be given to movement control to avoid infection from one person to another.

Hence, it is important for the people to stay at home, he added.

The third criterion, he said, is on the healthcare system in terms of lab capability to detect positive cases.

“For example, we use Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) of 24 to 48 hours. If possible, we want to reduce the time to carry out PCR test to less than 24 hours.

“Apart from that, we have to look at facilities such as wards and intensive care units (ICUs) whether they are enough. If our healthcare system is good, it is one of the indications to end the MCO,” he added.

Dr Noor Hisham said it is also important to implement measures to protect the high-risk group, such as the elderly, the disabled and those with comorbidities.

“The fifth criterion is that the people should be with us in practising the new normal, such as social distancing, frequent hand washing and avoid gatherings,” he added.

The sixth and most important criterion, he said, is how to identify the area and also get the community to work together with the MOH to implement preventive measures.

“These are the six criteria, strategies or frameworks that we (MOH) have and this framework needs to be adopted by all the ministries and departments to see how we can soft landing for exit strategy,” he added.