Exiting the Lockdown in 4 Phases

En route to the norm that we used to know, here are the 3 main indicators that will move us from phases to phases

PM Tan Sri Muhyiddin during his special announcement on 15th June, 5pm (Image courtesy of Bernama)

Malaysia Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin has laid out a National Recovery Plan with National Immunisation Programme (NIP) the key for the country to move from the current Movement Control Order (MCO) imposed nationwide indefinitely by the end of the year. 

The National Recovery Plan is based on three indicators: COVID-19 transmissions in the community based on the number of daily infections, the capability of the public healthcare system based on the bed utilisation rate in Intensive Care Unit (ICU) wards, and the percentage of the population that has received two doses of the vaccine.

In view of the high COVID-19 cases, the critical status of the healthcare system and the low vaccination rate, the first step of the plan comprises the implementation of the full MCO that the nation is currently in.

If the following conditions are met, the government will consider moving on to phase two of the plan which is as follows:

– COVID-19 infections on a daily basis are less than 4,000.

– The healthcare system is no longer in crisis with ICU bed use reverting to normal.

– COVID-19 vaccinations (2 doses) have been given to 10% of the population.

The above comes with restrictions that include:

– Economic operations will return in stages, with up to 80% of workers permitted to remain on site. 

– Only specific sectors will be permitted to operate. To assist construction activity, the government will add other sectors to the present list such as cement manufacturers.

– Computers and technological devices for those who work from home will be sold. 

– No social activities or interstate trips are permitted.

In phase three, all economic activities except for those with high risk of COVID-19 transmissions and involving large gatherings will be allowed to resume. 

The government will consider proceeding to phase three if the following conditions are met:

– The healthcare system works at a comfortable level, with ICU bed demand reduced adequately. 

– 40% of the population has received two doses of the COVID -19 vaccinations.

– The government aims to meet these targets in August. 

– All economic sectors will continue to operate at 80% capacity.

– Manufacturing will be permitted, subject to SOPs and capacity constraints. Companies on the other hand, may be allowed to operate completely if their employees have been vaccinated.

– Conventions, as well as the reopening of pubs, spas, and beauty salons, are prohibited activities where physical separation is not practicable.

– In phases, sports and social activities may be resumed.

In compliance with stringent SOPs, Muhyiddin pledges for Parliamentary sessions to begin in September/October.

When the following conditions are met, the government will consider going on to phase four, or the final phase:

– COVID-19 cases on a daily basis are below 500.

– The healthcare system is operating at a safe level with enough ICU bed use.

– Two doses of COVID-19 vaccination have been given to 60% of the population.

– According to the National COVID-19 Immunisation Programme’s predictions, these numbers  could be reached by October.

– All economic sectors may reopen and daily activities may resume with more social activities, interstate travel, and domestic tourism allowed, subject to strict SOP compliance. 

– COVID-19 cases are low, the public healthcare system is stable, and herd immunity has been achieved — by the end of the year by the latest estimate.

– If all three indicators are met sooner, the government may move on to the next phase. 

The government expects an additional 16 million doses by the end of July, which, along with the increased daily vaccination rate, gives the government confidence in carrying out the National Recovery Plan.

In the following months, the government plans to administer 300,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine every day.  Currently, the MCO 3.0 costs the government RM1 billion every day. If the government does not enforce MCO 3.0, COVID-19 cases might reach 13,000 per day, forcing the healthcare system to collapse.

Moreover, the government is considering administering COVID-19 immunisation to adolescents aged 12 and up. “The number of people in our country who have obtained their immunisation will determine our success in achieving herd immunity,” ended Muhyiddin.