National Recovery Plan from pandemic in Malaysia

Malaysians have been living under various stages of the Movement Control Order (MCO) for over a year, since March 2020. And now, we’re in the midst of a full lockdown, or MCO 3.0 Phase 1, till 28th June 2021. So it’s safe to say that many of us are looking forward to getting some semblance of normality back in our lives, where staying at home is not the default.

In hopes of bringing an end to the lockdowns in Malaysia, the government announced a National Recovery Plan yesterday, on 15th June. The plan will be carried out in 4 phases, with activities such as interstate travel and social activities allowed to resume in November, and as early as October 2021. 

However, the phases will only be implemented as planned if 3 factors are achieved. They include a decrease in COVID-19 cases, vaccination rates in the country reaching a certain percentage, and the national healthcare system’s ability to cope with COVID-19 patients based off usage of beds in ICU wards. 

Loosening of restrictions to be carried out in phases

The National Recovery Plan was announced by Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin on 15th June, in a live-streamed speech. As an exit strategy for the COVID-19 pandemic in Malaysia, the plan will see less restrictions and more economic sectors opening up in 4 phases.  

MCO 3.0 Phase 1 is currently being enforced in Malaysia, and will last till 28th June. During this phase, only essential businesses and selected manufacturing sectors are allowed to operate. Muhyiddin stated that this phase will come to an end when COVID-19 daily cases drop below 4,000 a day.

Current SOPs for MCO 3.0 Phase 1 

Next up will be Phase 2, which will allow room for more travel, likely within districts. More businesses and manufacturing sectors will be added to the list of businesses allowed to open as well, with 80% of staff allowed to return to work.

Some examples given are cement production for the manufacturing industry, and electronic and computer stores to accommodate Malaysians working from home at this time.

However, interstate travel and most social activities will not be permitted during this phase.

This phase will start in July, for 2 months till August, once 10% of the population has been vaccinated and cases fall below 4,000.

Yesterday, 15th June, Malaysia recorded 5,419 new COVID-19 cases, as reported by KKM. JKJAV reported that a total of 1,468,689 individuals have received both doses of the vaccine, and the figure is accurate as of 15th June 2021, 11.59PM.

National Recovery Plan for M'sia - vaccination
The current vaccination rates in the country will be a factor for the implementation of phases
Image credit: JKJAV

Phase 3 will be implemented on September, and will happen only if daily COVID-19 cases fall below 2,000. This will be coupled with other requirements, including getting 40% of the population fully vaccinated. Our national healthcare system should also be able to handle COVID-19 cases without getting overloaded. While the aim is to reach this stage by September, our government is hoping that we can do so as early as the end of August.

In this phase, which will last from September to October, all economic and manufacturing sectors will be allowed to reopen and operate at 80% capacity. But there will still be a ban on high-risk activities involving crowds, with businesses such as pubs, spas and beauty salons not allowed to operate too.

Nonetheless, the education sector and selected sports activities will return in stages. Capacity limits for staff allowed to return to work may be raised to 100%, if employees are vaccinated. 

Parliamentary sessions are expected to return in September or October during this phase as well, as reported by The Star.

National Recovery Plan for M'sia - interstate travel
Image credit: Polis Diraja Malaysia ( Royal Malaysia Police )

Last phase of National Recovery Plan to allow interstate travel

The last phase, Phase 4, will be implemented by the end of October.

This phase will allow activities such as interstate travel and domestic tourism to resume. More social activities, such as sport events with audiences and social events, including visitation of family members across states, will also be permitted. All economic sectors will open up as well.

However, COVID-19 daily cases must be falling under 500, and 60% of the population has to be fully vaccinated.

Citing estimations based off the National COVID-19 Immunisation Plan, Muhyiddin said that it will be possible to reach this phase earliest by the end of October, or beginning of November. But Malaysians must remain patient, and continue to adhere to COVID-19 safety measures to ensure that these phases can be carried out according to plan. 

Likewise, the threefold factors – a decrease in COVID-19 cases, vaccination rates, and capacity of the national healthcare system – must be taken into account before the phases can take effect. 

National Recovery Plan aims to open up all travel by end of October

Many of us are, no doubt, looking forward to being able to return to our livelihoods. This National Recovery Plan offers a light at the end of the tunnel for many who have had to close down their businesses under the first phase of MCO 3.0, or FMCO. So while we wait, we are all reminded to do our part in the fight against the pandemic, including observing social distancing, wearing our masks when we’re in public, and practising strict personal hygiene, so we can see better days ahead.

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Cover image adapted from: Astro Radio Traffic and Team MyVac KLCC

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