Eating out, jogging in parks, working in offices get the nod – The Straits Times

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Malaysians will, from Monday, be able to dine-in at restaurants and jog in the parks again, and, for many people, return to their offices.

The government yesterday announced more relaxed rules for the country after more than six weeks of its movement control order (MCO) to curb the spread of the deadly coronavirus that has hit the economy badly.

“After holding a meeting (with relevant agencies), we are ready to open up the economy,” Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin said in a televised address on Labour Day.

“Beginning May 4, almost all economic sectors will be allowed to open with conditions. This is important as business and work are sources of income.

“If we are under MCO for too long, we will not get any income and this will have a bad impact on your finances,” he added.

The MCO was imposed 46 days ago today, as new Covid-19 cases were in triple digits daily and kept climbing.

The Health Ministry said this week that the country was in a “recovery phase”, with daily cases in double digits in the past 17 days.

Malaysia reported 69 new cases yesterday to bring the total to 6,071, and total deaths of 103. Its recovery rate was at 69.3 per cent out of the total number of positive cases.

Tan Sri Muhyiddin said South-east Asia’s third-biggest economy suffered RM2.4 billion (S$800 million) in losses daily during the MCO, with total losses currently estimated at RM63 billion.

Another RM35 billion will have to be added to this should the MCO be extended. He said the country is now under “conditional MCO” until May 12, with businesses told to insist on physical distancing of their customers and workers.

Religious services and other mass gatherings such as sports events are still banned, while barbers and hairdressers will stay shut.

Schools will remain closed and the mass annual exodus of workers to their home towns ahead of Hari Raya Aidilfitri is banned.

Travel between Malaysia’s 13 states is also barred except for work purposes.

“I realise you are all worried. I am worried too, and in some nations too, when the lockdown ended, the number of Covid-19 positive cases increased exponentially,” the Prime Minister said. “We must find ways to balance between healing the nation’s economy and addressing Covid-19.”

Mr Muhyiddin said that based on advice from the Health Ministry, data collected and best practices stipulated by the World Health Organisation, “the government has decided to reopen economic sectors cautiously, by implementing stringent health standard operating procedures, beginning May 4”.

He added: “God willing, we have enough manpower, beds in hospitals, quarantine centres, medicines, ventilators, personal protection equipment and labs should the infection rate increase again.”

Mr Muhyiddin also said: “What needs to be done is to increase the ability of our public healthcare system to face any possibility.

“So even though we have successfully controlled the spreading of Covid-19, let us not be ignorant, and continue to be cautious.”

The Premier gave specific advice for restaurants, saying they should provide hand sanitisers, issue face masks to workers and set tables at least 2m apart.

“It is advisable to take the body temperature of your customers before they are allowed in… Restaurants must also register the names of all customers, to enable contact tracing if someone tests positive for Covid-19,” he said.

Source: Thanks https://www.straitstimes.com/asia/se-asia/eating-out-jogging-in-parks-working-in-offices-get-the-nod