KUALA LUMPUR, April 17 (Bernama) — The government is advised not to be rash in ending the Movement Control Order (MCO), including on the grounds of concern for the country’s economic downturn.

Former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said the decision to end the MCO had to be carefully studied to ensure that the outbreak did not strike again more severely.

“Identifying the precautions we have taken that are really successful such as the use of mouth and nose mask, social distancing and stay-at-home instructions … they must be studied one by one and what are the consequences if we stop even one of them.

“What will happen if we end one step but we proceed with another step … it all requires expert attention on data and figures because we do not want that when the MCO is terminated, the virus reproliferates in the country,” he said here.

He said this in a Live Chat hosted by Sunway Medical Centre Velocity Kuala Lumpur Respiratory Medical Consultant and Specialist Dr Nurul Yaqeen Mohd Esa on the topic of the COVID-19 pandemic posted on his Facebook today.

Citing Sweden as an example, Dr Mahathir said the country had allowed its people to leave their houses due to its confidence that it had been successful in toning down the pandemic, but COVID-19 subsequently returned to attack.

“We see it happening in places like Sweden … this is all by trial and error … it is okay if we find our actions are effective, but if we find that our actions are making things much worse, we have to cancel the decision.

Dr Mahathir, who is also a medical doctor, predicted that the world and the country would be facing the outbreak for a long time before recovering, and no one could predict the exact date.

“There is no single date when we can say we are free (from COVID-19) and can return to normal as before … but we cannot be certain when the MCO will end because the government’s response should depend on the current situation,” he said.

In the meantime, he said it was not wrong to allow an industry with less workers and more robots to operate as usual, as long as it complied with the requirements.


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