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The Covid-19 situation in Kuala Lumpur, Selangor and Putrajaya is under control despite the daily high infection rates, Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah assured residents in the central region today.

He said the current high cases were well within the Health Ministry’s expectations after the third wave broke out in Sabah back in September.

He was responding to Malaysian Public Health Physicians Association president Datuk Dr Zainal Ariffin Omar who suggested that the Klang Valley could turn into the next Sabah if the daily new cases maintained its current trajectory.

The Health director-general added that the ministry is able to deal with the cases in the Klang Valley after having managed the outbreaks in Penang and Kedah previously.

Dr Noor Hisham also said the best method to stop the contagion were to continue the current targeted approaches of identifying the infected areas and contain it there through the conditional movement control orders (CMCO) and targeted enhanced movement control orders (TEMCO).

“When cases started to increase in Klang Valley, we implemented the EMCO and the TEMCO as well as the CMCO, as we predicted infections will rise here due to the density of the population.

“People asked us if this was successful. If we did not do it, we would be seeing upwards of four million people with Covid-19 infections,” said Dr Noor Hisham today during his Covid-19 briefing broadcasted from Putrajaya.

“Look at Sarawak and how the R-naught (R0) dropped to 0.4 now while at one point in Semporna for every ten individuals tested, seven would return positive. Now there are only 10 cases in Semporna.

“What we are doing here is what we have done in Kedah, Sabah and Sarawak and that’s how we make sure cases do not spiral out of control.”

Selangor has steadily been recording infections in the thousands and today another 1,204 new cases.

Malaysia’s daily cases jumped to 2,018 today, the country’s third highest number recorded in a single day.

However, Dr Noor Hisham attributed the daily spike to the mandatory Covid-19 screening for foreign workers and added that most cases involved them at their workplaces.

He said the mandatory screening at construction sites and factories employing large numbers of foreigners has been helpful in curbing Covid-19.

“With these continued efforts hopefully in the next month or two we will see the impact and a decrease in cases,” said Dr Noor Hisham.

The R0 in Malaysia is now at 0.97. Dr Noor Hisham said their goal is to get it to the low 0.5 to 0.4.

-malaymail

Less than a month ago, store managers beset by a fresh round of movement control orders and a surge in Covid-19 cases were still pulling their hair out figuring out how to keep their doors open.

Most had sought to stem their losses by trimming overhead costs. Malls and restaurants, left virtually empty by the first lockdown between March and May, and the conditional movement  control order later in October, no longer had any use for full workforces.

But that business decision may come back to bite them hard. After the government began relaxing the conditional movement control order (CMCO), customers began flocking to malls and restaurants in droves, leaving understaffed retailers scrambling to cope with the sudden rush in foot traffic.

“The amount of people coming in and out of Hamley’s has definitely gone up,” said Nur Farah Ain, 32, an assistant store manager at the toy franchise’s 1 Utama Shopping Mall outlet, in Bandar Utama, Petaling Jaya.

“Usually in the morning it’s empty until about 4pm, but nowadays, we have customers coming in at all times of the day,” she added.

For retailers, among the hardest hit by the pandemic, the sight of large crowds provided relief and optimism after months of sluggish sales.

Malls, restaurants, chain stores, and more were forced to shut for months as part of restrictions enforced to contain Covid-19, plunging sales by as much as 30.9 per cent in the April to June 2020 period to post the sector’s worst quarterly performance to date.

But the situation appears to be improving, according to several store managers whom Malay Mail interviewed.

Sales that typically mark the year-end holiday have spurred the mood for spending, and customers are seemingly upbeat even as daily Covid-19 cases surged to record highs, likely encouraged by the government’s decision to relax restrictions.

“Since they’ve opened the malls, people have slowly started coming back and as it’s the end of the year,” said Keith Tan, 35, a store manager at Vans, the giant skateboarding shoe retailer, which has a branch in 1 Utama Shopping Centre.

“People are now spending the money they couldn’t back then. Last week we saw a 70 per cent increase in sales, which is huge for us.”

This buoyant sentiment is reflected in how consumers shop online.

Malaysia was among countries that posted the highest sales growth on “12.12”, according to data from Shopback.com, a regional retail consultancy that tracked traffic during the annual mega sale held on December 12.

ShopBack Malaysia said online orders increased five-fold while traffic rose over six times compared to an average day.

Malaysian Retailer Chain Association president Shirley Tay Sun said the improvements have helped lift the sentiment for the group’s sizable members.

Still, Tay pointed to widespread concern over the staff shortage.

“Yes, many of our members are reporting increased foot traffic after the CMCO was relaxed. For example, more families are now dining out because they can do so as a single unit, which is helping the food outlets and restaurants,” she said.

“But many are also worried that people might get complacent and ignore the standard operating procedures. They’re worried that it could force us to go into another lockdown again,” she added.

Most retail managers Malay Mail spoke to said there were growing signs that people are starting to take social distancing lightly, a problem they said is exacerbated by the lack of manpower to ensure customers follow the standard operating procedures (SOP).

“It’s a little difficult to ensure everyone adheres to the SOPs,” said Nur Farah.

“Since the MCO, we don’t have enough staff and because of that, it’s difficult to make sure everyone sticks to the SOPs,” she added, noting that children were particularly difficult to deal with.

“Our biggest problem is people not wearing their masks, or pulling it down under their chin,”

This predicament affects even the biggest retail chains.

“Weekends are especially crazy, especially last weekend. Our store was at our (maximum) capacity, which is 100, most times during the day,” said Nur Diyana, 27, a store manager for Swedish high street fashion giant, H&M.

“We are struggling a bit with the volume of people. Like I said before this, look at our queue, it’s very long and we are understaffed so it’s a bit hard for us,” she added.

“But things seem to be looking up.”

Retailers were prescribed SOPs that included ensuring customers observe the health protocols set by the Ministry of Health. Store operators can be penalised if customers are found without a face mask or fail to keep a safe distance.

Despite stern action taken against offenders, the National Security Council continues to report high daily cases of MCO-related offences.

Government officials have been optimistic in their forecast, predicting a strong rebound by the second half of next year with growth projected to be between 6.5 and 7.5 per cent on the back of improvement in global growth and international trade.

The economy is expected to contract by 4.5 per cent this year.

-malaymail

The first art exhibition to be held here immediately after the conditional movement control order (CMCO) was lifted was a resounding success with about 40 per cent of the artwork sold over the weekend.

“Boxed In (One Foot At A Time)”, held at the Hin Bus Depot exhibition space, opened on December 12 and attracted visitors from other states.

According to curator Ivan Gabriel, they already sold 17 of the 43 artworks on display.

“We also had buyers from Kuala Lumpur who did cash and go,” he said.

He added that the brisk sales was a great encouragement to the artists as some had declared their work “not for sale”, thinking that artworks might not sell during the Covid-19 pandemic.

“However, some buyers actually requested to purchase them regardless of that fact, and those ‘not for sale’ ones were also sold,” he said.

“Boxed In” was originally a virtual art exhibition launched online on December 1 and some of the artworks were sold through the virtual platform.

Ivan said there were “live” sharing sessions by the artists on Zoom and that introduced some of the artworks to the public online.

A total of 27 artists showcased 43 of their artworks, all with one similar theme — their interpretation of thinking outside the box by creating artworks using two 12-inch square wooden boxes.

Ivan said some of the artists explored current issues such as being literally “boxed in” due to the movement control order (MCO) earlier this year and also explored mental health issues due to the pandemic and lockdown.

One of the artists, Nasir Nadzir, painted blueberries inside the box before the MCO and was planning to pair it with a painting for blue rubies in the second box.

However, the MCO gave him time to change his perspective as he longed to spend time in a cafe during the lockdown so he can enjoy French toast topped with fresh fruits.

That longing became the inspiration for his second artwork, a painting of French toast topped with blueberries and bananas.

Another artist, Lijynn, painted the boxes white to represent spaciousness and a way to heal through deep, calm breathing.

It was her way of creating an art piece to become an instrument in relieving the stresses of the recent uncertainties due to the pandemic.

Ivan said there are empty spaces at the exhibition that were deliberately left vacant as some artists were unable to participate because they had to leave and return to their home country due to the pandemic.

With the brisk sales over the weekend, he said there are now more empty spaces to add more depth to the curation.

All of the artists, though many are locals, are Penang-based including foreign artists who have made Penang their homes.

“Boxed In” is open daily from 11am to 7pm until December 31.

-malaymail

482 individuals caught flouting CMCO SOP

December 4, 2020 | News | No Comments

KUALA LUMPUR: A total of 482 individuals were nabbed for various offences under the Conditional Movement Control Order (CMCO) standard operating procedures(SOP).

From the total, 438 people were issued compound, 40 remanded and four released on bail, said Senior Minister (Security Cluster) Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob.

He said the offenders were nabbed at 61,784 compliance checks conducted by the authorities.

“The compliance team inspected 3,600 hypermarkets, 5,246 restaurants, 1,692 factories, 3,524 banks, and 540 public sector offices,” he said in a statement today.

He said 128 people were nabbed for not observing physical distancing, while other offences included interstate or inter-district travels without permission.

Op Benteng yesterday also detained 68 illegal immigrants and 10 tekong (boat skippers).

A total of 296 roadblocks were mounted by the task force, he added.

“From the total, 228 roadblocks were mounted by the Armed Forces, 59 by the police and the other nine by the Malaysian Border Security Agency (Aksem).

“Action will be taken against those who try to enter the country illegally and the enforcement agencies will continue to beef up control along the country’s border.

Members of the public can call the National Task Force hotline at 01162511223 to lodge reports on illegal immigrants and cross-border crimes, he said.

-nst

Applications from individuals claiming to be “weekend husbands” for interstate travel to Selangor, Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya have been rejected by the police since the conditional movement control order (CMCO) was imposed on October 14.

Kuantan district police chief ACP Mohamad Noor Yusof Ali said a total of 1,000 applications for interstate travel were received and out of that, 830 applications were approved from October 14 to date.

“About 250 to 300 applications were rejected as the reasons were not strong enough or they did not attach the supporting documents. For example, some gave the reason that they are weekend husbands going to meet their families living in CMCO area.

“When rejected, some say the police are not concerned but our concern is to ask those who do not need to travel, to sit at home instead of entering a CMCO area and risking themselves,” he told reporters after Ziarah Prihatin programme and monitoring Covid-19 standard operating procedure (SOP) compliance around the district here today.

Meanwhile, Mohamad Noor said so far, two police officers and one corporal are undergoing self-quarantine in the past six days

“The two officers involved had just returned from a course in Kuala Lumpur where an instructor had symptoms and found to be Covid-19 positive after a screening test, resulting in the officers and their families needing to undergo self-quarantine

“While the male corporal who is still single was instructed to undergo self-quarantine because he was unwell after completing a 14-day quarantine at the Kuala Lumpur Police Training Centre upon returning from Sabah,” he said, adding all the three of them are awaiting their Covid-19 swab test results.

-malaymail

The implementation of conditional movement control order (CMCO) in Selangor for one week, has shown some positive signs in reducing the R-naught (RO) for Covid-19 in the state.

Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said Selangor had managed to bring down the infectivity rate from 1.98 to 1.48 thus far.

“But we need to do better without changing the strategy of CMCO, (which) allowed the economy sector to function. We need to step up, tighten the social sector such as the sport sector (and) education sector.

“So that if they (social sector) can be put on hold for a week or two, then I think we can improve using the strategy of CMCO to bring down the RO or bring down the cases,” he said in Covid-19 press conference at the Ministry of Health (MOH) here today.

He further explained that the decision to go for CMCO was to strike a right balance between health and economy as well as between life and livelihood.

“We decided to adopt this strategy by using CMCO instead of MCO. MCO will probably work in a shorter period of time but the cost to the country is that all economic sectors are put on hold.

“If we can reduce and control the movement of people especially in Selangor, then that would be a solution. But how successful we are, depends on whether we can stay at home, and break the chain of infection. With less people to control means we can break the transmission,” he added.

Meanwhile, Dr Noor Hisham said MOH was able to track 90 per cent of the infections in Selangor to their clusters via the tracing application MySejahtera which helped contain positive cases.

He said the application enables KKM to trace the positive cases whether in Selangor or outside the state.

Dr Noor Hisham said MOH is closely monitoring all Covid-19 patients who have recovered to look at the long-term effects for example if lung lesions could cause breathing difficulties.

On whether Covid-19 patients who recovered having health complications, Dr Noor Hisham said for patients with mild infection or asymptomatic, the side effects would not be so prominent.

Dr Noor Hisham said the Institute of Medical Research (IMR) is also studying the antibodies of patients.

He said antibodies against a virus would be built after a person was infected but the question is for how long would the antibodies remain in the body.

He said initial studies showed the antibodies would diminish after eight weeks.

Asked on the efforts of the Selangor state government to conduct screening tests, Dr Noor Hisham said the state should work with the state health department to coordinate the activity rather than working in silos.

He said coordination between the state health department and main office is a holistic approach to solve issues, challenges and to share information. 

-malaymail

All morning markets in Selangor are allowed to operate throughout the 14-day conditional movement control order (CMCO) period effective today, said Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Amirudin Shari.

He said the morning markets, however, were subject to complying with the same standard operating procedure (SOP) observed by night markets.

He also said that non-Muslim marriage registrations would be allowed throughout the CMCO, but limited to just six people at any one time.

“The use of playgrounds and exercise equipment in public parks is not allowed,” he said in a statement today.

Amirudin also said the previous SOP specifically for the mukim (sub-district) of Klang had been cancelled after the state government decided to adopt the SOP outlined by the National Security Council (MKN) for the whole of Selangor.

The decision was made after studying the views of all parties at the state CMCO implementation coordination meeting today, which was also attended by Selangor State Health Department and Selangor MKN.

On Monday, Senior Minister (Security) Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob announced the implementation of the conditional movement control order (CMCO) in Selangor, Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya effective from today to October 27, following a spike in Covid-19 cases. Sabah was also placed under CMCO but effective a day earlier (October 13).

According to the SOP issued by MKN, others allowed to operate are daily markets, wholesale markets, farmers’ markets, agricultural markets and night markets, but with strict compliance of the permitted operating hours. 

-MALAYMAIL

Local independent artiste Liyana Fizi is doing her part in helping small local businesses amid the newly-implemented conditional movement controlled order (CMCO).

Ahead of the CMCO, Liyana reached out on her Twitter page asking small businesses affected by the CMCO to tag her in their post so she could retweet it to her 100,000 plus followers.

Reason being is that she was giving back to her followers who previously supported her.

“I consider my followers on social media and on Twitter, my friends,” she said.

“They have always been there for me throughout the years — they bought my music and tshirts online, helped circulate flyers for my gigs through retweets, and also supported my small postcard business for a few years.”

“I remember how appreciative I felt to receive that kind of online support, so I want to give the same back,” she told Malay Mail.

If you own a small business, and you’re affected by the CMCO, please post your products & services here. Kita retweet ?

She admitted that she was amazed at how creative small local businesses were.

“The way small businesses market their products, is so engaging and fun,” she said.

“Malaysians are an enterprising lot, food, clothes, self care products, art and design, tuition services, you name it.

“I discovered so many cool and interesting things such as homemade organic sourdough banana bread, coconut clay beauty masks, ‘telur rebus’ (boiled egg) cookies, beautiful custom jewelry, fake eyelashes made from human hair and Durian Butter Chicken Sauce.”

Apart from that, the former Estrella lead vocalist also said that “Kita jaga Kita” is important even without a pandemic and as a Muslim, she was taught to always care for fellow humans, animals and the planet.

“So trying to be a good human is a continuous effort.

“As rakyat, we all need to stay at home for now, and find ways to stay positive and productive throughout the CMCO,” she said.

“Although it’s challenging in so many different ways, for different people, I personally feel that the restriction is a good thing, with less movement, it helps to slow down the spread of the virus.

“To face this challenging time, let’s come together, support each other, and lend a helping hand in whatever way we can.”

-malaymail

Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin today asked the nation to pray that Malaysia will not be put under initial partial lockdown called movement control order (MCO) again like it was in March, amid the new third wave of Covid-19 cases.

He also justified the conditional MCO (CMCO) for Selangor, Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya which begins at midnight as a pre-emptive measure, even as most of the districts in the state and federal territories are still not Covid-19 “red zones”.

“Firstly, I would like to say please pray no MCO, even though some may like it to happen or want to sit at home with their husbands or wives but this will bring a big effect in the economy and social sector a big impact to our country too,” he told the media.

“If there is a second MCO we need a bigger sum of money…but currently in our strategy we are not even thinking of that (MCO). We are focused in preventing the third wave from getting worse rather than thinking of spending for a potential lockdown (MCO).

“If things get worse, we will find a way to help the people, we are prepared but let us go through this phase first,” he added, during a special virtual press conference with the media this evening.

Meanwhile, Muhyiddin also admitted the government’s shortcomings, especially the delay in imposing curfews in Sabah.

The third wave of Covid-19 had hit the state on September 20, but restrictions such as banning interstate travel from Sabah was only implemented on September 27.

“I admit there was a delay on our end but never mind, we have taken steps to contain the situation now. Whatever it is we’ve got all areas covered for now. The death toll from Covid-19 counts … it is not on the rise it is still under control,” he said.

Muhyiddin also justified Putrajaya’s decision to impose CMCO in Selangor, Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya by saying it had to be done before the situation got worse.

“We had to call for CMCO as a preemptive and proactive measure from our end. If we don’t take these measures, cases will increase.

“Based on our experiences this preemptive measure will give us leeway to stop cases from rising if tomorrow some places turn to yellow zone or red zone we won’t wait so long and will immediately impose CMCO.

“A loss is a loss to Malaysia. A single loss is a high loss to a country . So we are taking preemptive measures,” he said.

-malaymail

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 13 — Selangor, Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya will undergo the conditional movement control order (CMCO) starting midnight tonight until October 27, following spikes in Covid-19 cases in Klang Valley.

After public confusion following yesterday’s announcement that came with scant details, Putrajaya has today released guidelines for residents and businesses in the affected areas, which slightly differ from the last CMCO which ended in June.

Here is a summary of what you can and cannot do under this is CMCO in the next two weeks.

Malay Mail will keep updating this article as National Security Council publishes clarifications and updates to its standard operating procedures (SOPs).

1. Interstate and interdistrict travel is not permitted. This means if one needs to cross from the Petaling Jaya district in Selangor to the Segambut district in Kuala Lumpur, this is still not permitted.

Here is the list of nine districts in Selangor, according to the Health Ministry: Petaling, Hulu Langat, Gombak, Klang, Kuala Selangor, Sepang, Kuala Langat, Sabak Bernam, and Hulu Selangor.

KL has four districts: Cheras, Kepong, Titiwangsa, and Lembah Pantai.

Putrajaya is counted as one district.

However, the National Security Council has never defined whether it refers to districts as stipulated by the MOH or local councils when banning inter-district travel for those without passes

2. Only two persons for each household are allowed to travel at one time for work, to buy necessities or groceries and for emergencies.

3. Employees who are travelling across districts however, need to provide a valid letter of permission or a work pass from their employer.

4. For those intending to travel out of state or out of their respective district due to emergency or funerals, they need to get prior police approval.

5. Those wishing to catch a flight would also need police approval.

 Educational and care institutions

6. All educational institutions such as schools, kindergartens, and colleges, among others, will be closed.

Businesses are still open

7. Most business sectors such are eateries, food trucks, restaurants and convenient stores are allowed to operate from 6am to 10pm.

8. Dine-ins are also allowed but limited to only two person per table, provided the outlets follow the standard operating procedure for eateries. Takeaways and deliveries are preferred.

9. For daily wet market, they are only allowed to operate from 6am to 2pm, while wholesale markets can operate from 4am to 2pm, and night markets are only allowed to operate from 4pm to 10pm. While operations for these markets are allowed, it will follow strict SOP and will be monitored by Rela personnel.

Petrol station and public transport

10. Petrol stations within affected areas are only allowed to operate from 6am to 10pm with the exception of those along major highways, which are allowed to operate 24 hours.

11. Public transport such as LRT, MRT and buses are allowed to operate as usual.

12. E-hailing vehicle are only allowed to ferry a maximum of two passengers while food delivery is only allowed to operate from 6am to 12am.

Private and public medical centres 

13. Private and public healthcare centres such as hospitals and clinics are allowed to operate 24 hours, as usual.

14. Pharmacies however, can only operate from 8am to 11pm.

Places of worship

15. Only six people, comprising of committee members are allowed to pray at their respective mosque or surau, while non-Muslim places of worship are also limited to six devotees at any given time.

Social activities

16. Any recreational, social and cultural activities such as weddings, exercising in public parks or visiting an entertainment outlet is prohibited during the CMCO period.

17. However, non-contact sports such as e-sports and outdoor sports are only limited to 10 people.

-malaymail

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