The implementation of the Movement Control Order (MCO) which came into force on March 18 has helped control the spread of the COVID-19 to a quite stable level.

Health director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah however stressed that the situation was still at mid-stage and required a continuous preventive and control measure.

As such, he said the government’s decision to extend the MCO to two weeks (from April 15 to 28) was timely as it would give more time for the country to contain the COVID-19 outbreak before re-evaluating the effectiveness of prevention control measures are taken.

“It (the MCO) needs to be further strengthened to break the chain of infection through the adoption of several new approaches on specific target groups,” he told the daily press conference on the COVID-19 situation at the Health Ministry here today.

Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin today announced that the government had decided to extend the MCO by another two weeks, from April 15 to 28 to give space to healthcare personnel battling the COVID-19 outbreak, apart from preventing the virus from spreading again.

The MCO, aimed at breaking the COVID-19 chain of infection, was first enforced in Malaysia from March 18 to 31 before it was extended into phase two, from April 1 to 14.

On the Enhanced MCO (EMCO) issued for two areas in Simpang Renggam, Johor, Dr Noor Hisham said a total of 1,634 COVID-19 screening tests had been conducted in Bandar Baharu Dato’ Ibrahim Majid.

He said of the total, 138 were COVID-19 positive cases, 79 of which were detected before the implementation of the EMCO while another 59 were recorded after the EMCO was enforced.

“There are three COVID-19 deaths recorded in the area, namely Case 1114, Case 1251, and Case 2627.

“Bandar Baharu Dato’ Ibrahim Majid which has been identified as the Buffer Zone comprises Kampung Dato Ibrahim Majid, Kampung Parit Penghulu, Kampung Parit Salleh and Taman Seri Bayu with an estimated population of 1,800 people,” he said.

Dr Noor Hisham said active case detection (ACD) screening had also been conducted on about 1,500 people, 359 of whom underwent sample screening based on risk assessment.

For the sample screening based on risk assessment, 13 positive cases were recorded, 88 were tested negative while 258 were still awaiting laboratory test results.