The Academy of Medicine of Malaysia (AMM) has called on the government to extend the Movement Control Order (MCO) until after the Hari Raya Aidilfitri celebration.

In a statement, AMM said the movement of people from state to state would increase as the community returned to their hometowns for the festive occasion, thus further worsening the spread of the COVID-19 outbreak.

"When many go back to the kampungs, it will create the risk of spreading the virus, especially to the elderly.

"Social distancing at stops and rest and recuperation (R&R) areas along the highway is bound to fail," the statement added.

The AMM understood the people's desire to spend time with relatives during the Raya holidays but in the face of this outbreak, social distancing had to continue until a new vaccine was discovered.

“Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, social distancing needs to be practised as a new norm at least for a certain period of time until things are under control.

"For this year, there should be at least some control, monitoring or maybe ban on rallies whether during Ramadan, Aidilfitri or haj," it said.

The AMM added that the withdrawal of the MCO or the relaxation of restrictive enforcement would render the benefits achieved within the four weeks of the MCO being implemented to be in vain.

"The war against COVID-19 is still a long way off, a lot of sacrifices have been and will continue to be made this year," it said.

The academy also urged for the same during the Kaamatan Festival in Sabah on May 30 and Gawai Day which will be celebrated in Sarawak on June 1.