Published on August 9, 2020
1. CURRENT SITUATION OF COVID-19 IN MALAYSIA PREPARED BY NUR ALIA ATHIRAH BINTI MOHD ZAIMY (GS57067)
2. CORONAVIRUS Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses which may cause illness in animals or humans. In humans, several coronaviruses are known to cause respiratory infections ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as - Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) - Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). The most recently discovered coronavirus causes coronavirus disease COVID-19. COVID-19 COVID-19 is the infectious disease caused by the most recently discovered coronavirus. This new virus and disease were unknown before the outbreak began in Wuhan, China, in December 2019. COVID-19 is now a pandemic affecting many countries globally. The most common symptoms of COVID- 19 are fever, dry cough, and tiredness. Other symptoms that are less common and may affect some patients include aches and pains, nasal congestion, headache, conjunctivitis, sore throat, diarrhoea, loss of taste or smell or a rash on skin or discoloration of fingers or toes. These symptoms are usually mild and begin gradually. Some people become infected but only have very mild symptoms. SYMPTOM OF COVID19 The first case of COVID-19 in Malaysia was detected on 24 January 2020. The WHO Country Office in Malaysia has been working closely with the Ministry of Health to respond to this outbreak.
3. WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN SELF-QUARANTINE, SELF- ISOLATION AND DISTANCING? Quarantine means restricting activities or separating people who are not ill themselves but may have been exposed to COVID-19. The goal is to prevent spread of the disease at the time when people just develop symptoms. Isolation means separating people who are ill with symptoms of COVID-19 and may be infectious to prevent the spread of the disease. Physical distancing means being physically apart. WHO recommends keeping at least 1- metre distance from others. This is a general measure that everyone should take even if they are well with no known exposure to COVID-19.
4. SNAPSHOT OF STATUS OF THE COVID19 OUTBREAK SITUATION GLOBALLY Globally, on 25 July 2020, there have been 15,581,009 confirmed cases of COVID19 including 635,173 deaths, reported to WHO.
5. Dr Tedros, in his media briefing yesterday, reminded people not to let their guard down ‘we will not be going back to the “old normal”. The pandemic has already changed the way we live our lives. Part of adjusting to the “new normal” is finding ways to live our lives safely.’ HIGHLIGHT As the possibility of a protracted pandemic becomes increasingly likely, countries are encouraged to conduct periodic reviews of their national and subnational COVID- 19 response. This ensures that countries do not miss critical opportunities for learning and improvement to better respond to the COVID-19 outbreak. WHO has produced guidance to assist in this exercise. At the annual High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development held between 7–16 July 2020 all countries expressed their support for the SDGs and discussed response measures to help mitigate the negative effects of COVID-19. Ouagadougou: WHO is tackling COVID-19 fear and stigma in Burkina Faso, West Africa, where both patients and health workers have been shunned by their communities. For Somalis, COVID-19 is the most immediate crisis in a seemingly unending cycle of floods, food insecurity, conflict and outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases like measles, cholera and polio. Against this backdrop, WHO’s polio programme is working to steer the COVID-19 response and, more broadly, maintain vaccine immunity levels and improve access to health care.
6. Here is the weekly snapshot of the COVID-19 situation in Malaysia
7. Latest update for COVID- 19 cases in Malaysia
8. Actions taken by the Government of Malaysia and Ministry of Health to overcome COVID-19 To enhance the MoH efforts in keeping the spread and mortality under control, a Movement Control Order (MCO) was implemented on March 18, 2020. The MCO related to the restriction of movement of people into or out of an area. The Director-General of the MoH emphasized that the order enforced came under the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act 1988 and the Police Act 1967 and would help to control the spread of the virus. (Bernama, 2020) Movement Control Order
9. Movement Control Order Actions taken by the Government of Malaysia to overcome COVID-19 Beginning from 15 March, Malaysia saw a significant jump in active cases. The Prime Minister of Malaysia held a live nationwide telecast on 16 March 2020 to announce the decision of the federal government in implementing the Movement Control Order (MCO). Based on the live addressing that evening, six restrictions have been imposed: 1.The public is prohibited to mass gather or attend massive events including religious, sports, social and cultural activities. All worshiping locations and business premises should be closed except for supermarkets, public markets, grocery stores and convenience stores that sells everyday necessities. For Muslims, all religious activities in mosques including Friday prayers are adjourned in line with decision made on 15 March 2020 by the Special Muzakarah Committee Meeting of the National Fatwa Council. Malaysians returning from abroad are required to undergo health check and self-quarantine for 14 days.
10. Movement Control Order Actions taken by the Government of Malaysia to overcome COVID-19 2. Tourists and foreign visitors are restricted to enter the country. Closure of all kindergartens, government and private schools, including daily schools, boarding schools, international schools, tahfiz centres and other primary, secondary and pre-university institutions. 3. Closure of all public and private higher education institution (IPTs) and skill training institutes. 4. Closure of all government and private premises except for essential services (water, electricity, energy, telecommunications, postal, transportation, irrigation, oil, gas, fuel, lubricants, broadcasting, finance, banking, health, pharmacy, fire, prison, port, airport, safety, defence, cleaning, retail and food supply).
11. Movement Control Order Actions taken by the Government of Malaysia and Ministry of Health to overcome COVID-19 The order was originally to be in effect from 18 March to 31 March, but has been extended four times as additional two-week "phases" over the course of two months: •Phase 2, announced on 25 March, extends the MCO to 14 April, as new cases continued to climb. •Phase 3, announced on 10 April, extends the MCO to 28 April, as the number of cases was projected by the WHO to peak in mid-April. •Phase 4, announced on 23 April, extends the MCO to 12 May.
12. Movement Control Order Actions taken by the Government of Malaysia and Ministry of Health to overcome COVID-19 •On 10 May, the Conditional Movement Control Order was extended until 9 June, the fourth extension since 18 March. Unlike the others, this extension is scheduled to last about a month. •On 6 June, the Director-General confirmed that the movement control order would remain in force since Malaysia is still being monitored under the Prevention and Control of Infections Diseases Act 1988. •On 7 June, Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin announced that the Conditional Movement Control Order would end on 9 June, with the country moving into the Recovery Movement Control Order (RMCO) phase between 10 June and 31 August.
13. Testing and Treatment Centres Actions taken by the Government of Malaysia to overcome COVID-19 •On 5 January, the National Crisis Preparedness and Response Centre (CPRC) under the Ministry of Health Malaysia began operation. By early-February, 57 hospitals were reported to provide screening services for coronavirus, while among them, 26 government hospitals are responsible for the confirmation of coronavirus and the suspected patients. With the rapid increase of infections, a further total of 409 sites across the country have been gazetted by the federal government as quarantine zones for coronavirus patients comprising public universities, community colleges, technical institutes, former National Service (PLKN) camps, training centres, polytechnics and hotels owned by federal ministries, departments, agencies and statutory bodies. •2 May 2020, 5,484 beds at 40 hospitals, 3,873 beds (in addition to 2,100 beds on standby) at 26 hospital extension centres/low-risk COVID-19 centres, 422 ICU beds, and 1,059 ventilators have been allocated for COVID-19 patients.
14. Testing and Treatment Centres Actions taken by the Government of Malaysia to overcome COVID-19 •On 8 April, a consortium of associated laboratories in Malaysia comprising Gribbles Pathology, Quantum Diagnostics and Clinipath Malaysia launched the country's largest COVID-19 collection and testing programme to increase testing capacity. Malaysian public universities also providing research and scientific capacity with 10 diagnostic laboratories at public higher learning institutions in the country nationwide have been called as part of a joint initiative by the Higher Education and Science, Technology and Innovation Ministries to help the Health Ministry in conducting 16,500 coronavirus tests daily. In spite of further capabilities to conduct more tests, the Health Ministry had stated that the country is yet to find its suitable rapid test kits to solved the increasing backlog of pending result cases along with the revelation that the existing supply of coronavirus reagents test kits could only last for another week which causing the Health Ministry to source from other countries including Singapore. As a response, the Federation of Chinese Associations Malaysia (Hua Zong) has called on the federal government to ensure sufficient coronavirus test kit reagents for the country especially among the Malaysia's eastern states of Sabah and Sarawak which are reportedly struggling to sourced test kits reagents.
15. Testing and Treatment Centres Actions taken by the Government of Malaysia to overcome COVID-19 • The Solidarity trial, launched by WHO to compare the safety and effectiveness of treatment protocols which included chloroquine, hydroxychloroquine, interferon-beta, lopinavir/ritonavir and remdesivir, would be conducted in nine government hospitals across the country. • On 3 July, Minister of Health Adham Baba announced that both Malaysian citizens and foreign nationals traveling to Malaysia would be required to pay fees when undergoing COVID-19 tests under the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases (Fee for Coronavirus Diseases 2019 (COVID-19) Detection Test) Regulations 2020, which came into effect on 29 June.
16. Actions taken by the Government of Malaysia and Ministry of Health to overcome COVID-19 The subsequent key step taken by the MoH along with the government to overcome the spread of COVID-19 was to increase the number of hospitals that could treat COVID-19 cases. There was also a group effort between public and private hospitals to accommodate the growing numbers of cases of infection, comprising university hospitals and Ministry of Defence hospitals (The Edge Markets,2020). Bans on mass gathering events
17. Bans on mass gathering events Actions taken by the Government of Malaysia to overcome COVID-19 Immediately after the spikes of the cases which related to the Sri Petaling Tabligh event, Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin announces that all events that involving mass gathering in any genre including international, religious, sports, meetups and social must be cancelled or postponed until 30 April 2020. However, the end date for the ban on mass gathering events are subject to revision depending on the situation of the outbreak. In addition, Registrar of Societies (RoS) bans all parties registered with RoS from organising any meeting and activities until 30 June 2020.
18. Impact On Schools Actions taken by the Government of Malaysia to overcome COVID-19 • The Ministry of Education of Malaysia announces that all extracurricular activity in schools will be suspended starting from March 2020 until further notice. • On 15 April, the Education Minister Mohd Radzi Md Jidin announced that the Ujian Penilaian Sekolah Rendah (UPSR) and Pentaksiran Tingkatan Tiga (PT3) examinations for standard six and form three students have been cancelled for 2020 in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. He also announced that all other major school examinations including the Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) and Sijil Tinggi Persekolahan Malaysia (STPM) would be postponed to 2021 and August 2020 respectively.
19. Impact On Schools Actions taken by the Government of Malaysia to overcome COVID-19 • On 23 June, the Ministry of Education announced changes to school term holidays in order to help schools better plan lessons that had been disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic and Movement Control Order. The mid-term break would be reduced from nine days to five days. The end of the year break in schools in Group A states (Johor, Kedah, Kelantan, and Terengganu) would be reduced from 42 days to 14 days. • The end of the year break in Group B states (Malacca, Negri Sembilan, Pahang, Perak, Perlis, Penang, Sabah, Sarawak, Selangor, Kuala Lumpur, Labuan and Putrajaya) would be reduced from 41 days to 13 days. The Education Ministry confirmed that the school year for 2020 will now total 168 days. In response, former Education Minister Maszlee Malik criticised the Ministry for not consulting with teachers and teachers' unions including the National Union of the Teaching Profession and West Malaysia Malay Teachers Union prior to amending the school term.
20. One of the initiatives agreed after the Economic Action Council meeting held on March 23, 2020 was the allocation of RM 600 million to the MoH to battle COVID- 19. According to Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, RM 500 million would be utilized to buy ventilators and personal protective equipment (PPE) and another RM 100 million would be used to appoint 2000 nurses on a contract basis. (Yusuf, 2020) Actions taken by the Government of Malaysia to overcome COVID-19
21. Actions taken by the media and NGOs Mainstream and social media COVID-19 has caused fear, anxiety, and confusion. The media, celebrities, and other influencers have appealed to the public to stay at home and avoid mass gatherings. The media has started to use the hashtag #stayhome. This hashtag has been used widely in the media, and it is hoped that important messages to stop the spread of COVID-19 can reach all levels of society. The MCO has affected Malaysia's economy. Most companies have their employees working from home, and some workers have had to stop working. NGOs have been actively helping those who are affected by this pandemic. They have been providing food, shelter for the homeless, and have even given out money to help those in need. Some NGOs have helped by providing protective masks, disinfection chambers (Bernama, 2020).
22. All frontliners are required to wear PPE. However, due to the rapid increase in COVID-19 cases, there have been shortages in PPE equipment. This shortage could have endangered the health of frontliners. Therefore, several NGOs and public figures have helped to sew PPE for medical frontliners. For example, several Malaysian fashion designers associated with the Malaysian Official Designers Association (Moda) have produced PPE for local medical staff (Cheong, 2020). Actions taken by the media and NGOs
23. Educational institutions, schools, and higher education institutions have had to close due to COVID-19. However, this has not stopped researchers from various universities from helping citizens in fighting COVID-19. Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) for example has produced an instant hand sanitizer and face shields. Actions taken by the public institutions
24. Children learning how to wear masks and wash hands in Penampang, Sabah. As part of a 6 month programme to raise awareness and distribute hygiene essentials. The Awareness programme starts in Sabah and is a collaboration between MERCYMalaysia and UNICEF.
25. Measures to overcome the economic downturn due to COVID-19 • The impact of COVID-19 on the world economy as a whole has been devastating. According to The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the COVID-19 pandemic has led to social distress around the world, as well as huge economic disruption (OECD, 2020). • The massive spread of the virus has affected the stock markets, and the enforcement of the MCO, lockdown, and travel restrictions have significantly disrupted business activities in various sectors, affecting people's income and causing economic chaos in the country. To minimize the economic impact of this pandemic, Malaysia has taken several actions to recover the economy.
26. Measures to overcome the economic downturn due to COVID-19 • According to AmBank Group chief economist Anthony Dass, direct damage caused by the virus can be seen in the tourism and travel industries, manufacturing, construction, mining, and agriculture, with many workers being laid off and others being placed on unpaid leave (Murugiah, 2020). • The Prime Minister of Malaysia Tan Seri Muhyiddin Yassin has particularly stated that the nation's tourism industry has been crippled, with an estimated loss of RM 3.37 billion in the first 2 months of the year (Dzulkifli, 2020). The forced closure of small businesses, mainly the small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and services, could probably lead to permanent shutdowns and many losing their jobs, as well as individuals going bankrupt (Cheng, 2020).
27. Relaxation of Restrictions Commerce • On 7 June, the Mayor of Kuala Lumpur Nor Hisham Ahmad Dahlan announced that the Kuala Lumpur City Hall will allow open markets, morning markets, night markets and bazaars to reopen in stages after the implementation of the Recovery Movement Control Order on 15 June. • On 22 June, Senior Minister (Security Cluster) Ismail Sabri Yaakob announced that cinemas, theatres and other live events would be allowed to reopen from 1 July, with a limit of 250 people. • On 10 July, Senior Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob announced that family entertainment centres including game arcades, karaoke centres, indoor funfairs, edutainment centres for children, and kids' gymnasiums can resume operations from 15 July. However, discos, pubs, and night clubs cannot reopen yet.
28. Relaxation of Restrictions Education • On 3 June, Education Minister Dr Mohd Radzi Md Jidin announced that the Government would be distributing guidelines for reopening schools to teachers on 4 June as part of efforts to reopen the education sector. On 6 June, Director-General of Health Noor Hisham Abdullah announced that hair and beauty salons will be able to reopen on 10 June. • On 10 June, Education Minister Mohd Radzi Md Jidin confirmed that schools in the country would begin reopening in stages from 24 June, with priority being given to students taking secondary and equivalent international leaving exams. As part of social distancing measures, schools will serve pre-packaged food and all students will have their temperatures checked when entering schools. • On 26 June, Senior Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob announced that tuition centres, special education schools and private schools would be allowed to operate soon.
29. Relaxation of Restrictions Education • On 29 June, it was reported that both public and private pre-schools, kindergartens, nurseries and day care centres would resume operations from 1 July. In addition, several businesses have been allowed to reopen including spas, wellness and foot massage centres, cinemas, theatres and "live" event venues. The Government has also allowed a range of social functions including meetings, conferences, seminars, course, training sessions, weddings, engagement parties, anniversary, birthday celebrations, and religious gatherings to be held. In addition, swimming in public, hotel, condominium, gated community and private pools have also been allowed. • On 1 July, the Education Minister Mohd Radzi announced that schools for other students will reopen in two stages from 15 July. Forms One to Four students, Years Five and Six pupils, remove class students and Form Six Semester 1 students will return on 15 July while Years One to Four primary school pupils will return to school on 22 July. He also confirmed that the 2021 academic year would be decided at a later date. • On 14 July, Senior Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob announced that driving schools would be allowed to resume their courses and training.
30. Relaxation of Restrictions Marriages • On 21 June, Senior Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob announced that couples whose marriage registration had been delayed as a result of the Movement Control Order could not complete the process at all permitted NGOs in the country including clan organisations, temples, churches, and religious bodies. • On 22 June, Yaakob announced that the Government would announce on Wednesday (24 June) whether the ceremonies would be allowed soon.
31. Relaxation of Restrictions Places of worship • On 28 May, the Ministry of National Unity announced that a total of 174 non-Muslim houses of worship have been allowed to resume operations from 10 June according to the Standard Operating Procedure for Houses of Worship in Green Zones including having a maximum number of 30 worshipers, subject to the size of the premises. These house of worships include those under Fo Guang Shan; the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Kuala Lumpur, the National Evangelical Christian Fellowship, the Malaysia Hindu Sangam, the Malaysian Gurdwaras Council, and the Federation of Taoist Associations Malaysia. Marriages at temples, churches, and religious associations have been postponed until 31 July 2020.
32. Relaxation of Restrictions Places of worship • On 15 June, Senior Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob announced that all 5,230 non-Muslim places of worship would be allowed to reopen but had to adhere to social distancing guidelines including taking one-third of their usual capacity and requiring attendees to download the MySejahtera application. • On 3 July, Minister in the Prime Minister's Department (Religious Affairs) Dr Zulkifli Mohamad Al- Bakri clarified that foreigners would not be allowed to attend congregational prayers at mosques and surau until the Department had studied reports from the Federal Territories Islamic Religious Department regarding the situation in mosques and surau.
33. Relaxation of Restrictions Tourism • On 26 June, Senior Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob announced that sectors and industries under the purview of the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture such as such as meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibitions, travel and trade fairs, spa, wellness and reflexology centres would be allowed to open from 1 July. However, tourism businesses are required to abide by social distancing measures, limit crowds to 200-250 people, check customers' temperatures, wear face masks, and provide hand sanitisers. While reflexology centers provided by the blind are allowed to reopen, only Malaysians can work in spas, wellness, and reflexology centres.
34. Relaxation of Restrictions Travel • On 7 June, Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin announced that interstate travel would be allowed from 10 June except in areas classified under the Enhanced Movement Control Order (EMCO). • On 13 June, Senior Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob announced that Malaysians from peninsular Malaysia, Sabah, and Labuan would be allowed to enter Sarawak without having to seek permission from the Sarawak Disaster Management Committee (SDMC) and take COVID-19 PCR tests prior to leaving for the state.
35. Relaxation of Restrictions Travel • On 27 June, Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin and his Singaporean counterpart Lee Hsien Loong agreed that their governments would collaborate to establish a Periodic Commuting Arrangement (PCA) allowing residents from both nations who hold long-term immigration passes for business and work purposes in the other country to periodically return to their home countries for short-term home leave. • On 14 July,Malaysian Foreign Minister Hishammuddin Hussein and Singaporean Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan announced that cross-border travel and traffic between the two countries will resume on 10 August 2020 under two schemes: the Reciprocal Green Lane (RGL) and the Periodic Commuting Arrangement (PCA). The Reciprocal Green Lane will allow essential business and official travel between the two countries while the Periodic Commuting Arrangement will allow Singaporean and Malaysian residents who hold long-term immigration business and work passes to enter for work purposes.
36. COVID-19 spreads primarily through close contact with someone who is infected, but it can also spread if you touch contaminated objects and surfaces You can protect yourself: clean your hands and your surroundings frequently!
37. Quitting smoking is not easy, Changing the mindset and habits too is not easy but its life saving
38. Children from all over Malaysia will be going back to school as they reopen.