Malaysian officials says state of emergency preventing surge in Covid

PETALING JAYA: Senior Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob and Health director-general Noor Hisham Abdullah held a rare joint press conference yesterday to defend Malaysia's state of emergency and the enhanced curbs that come into effect today, the eve of Hari Raya Aidilfitri.

Dr Noor Hisham said the state of emergency did not fail. In fact, it helped prevent Covid-19 cases from rising even further.

He said the emergency allowed for the elections to be postponed, which could have further worsened the pandemic.

He said one major factor for India's Covid-19 crisis was elections and rallies. But Dr Noor Hisham conceded that reopening schools and the social sector in March may have been too early, and that it led to a surge in infections at a time when new variants of the coronavirus had entered the country.

Malaysia has seen three lockdowns since March 18 last year.

Mr Ismail said in the first lockdown, everything was shut down, but in this one, which will end on June 7, businesses are allowed to open.

"Yes, it is true that we will flatten the Covid-19 curve faster... if the government enforces (curbs) like the one we did the first time around. But that would mean the economy would be losing RM2.4 billion (S$770 million) daily throughout that period," he said. - THE STAR, THE STRAITS TIMES