CORONAVIRUS | The fourth phase of the movement control order (MCO) which begins today sees a slight easing of restrictions with those going out to buy goods approved by the government allowed to bring along one companion.
However, that companion must be a family member from the same residence, according to a federal gazette published by the government yesterday.
The published gazette is the Prevention and Control of Infectious Disease (Measures Within Infected Local Areas (No. 4) Regulations 2020, which takes effect from today until May 12.
Under Section 4(1)(a)(ii) of the updated regulation, it states that anyone moving in an infected area to buy necessities "may be accompanied by one family member staying in the same house".
A previous version of the regulation had stated that people seeking to buy necessities in an infected area "shall not be accompanied by any other person unless it is reasonably necessary for him to be accompanied by any other person".
The updated regulation also expands the goods that people can go out to purchase.
The previous regulation stated that people may only leave their home to purchase "food, medicine, dietary supplement or daily necessities".
However, the latest regulation adds "goods from any provider of essential services" to the list.
The newly gazetted regulation was inked by Health Minister Adham Baba.
Gradual relaxation of rules
Defence Minister Ismail Sabri, at a press conference in Putrajaya later, confirmed the new regulation.
Ismail, who is the senior minister in charge of overseeing the MCO, said this was part of a series of relaxation of rules planned during the fourth phase of the MCO.
Ismail also in the fourth MCO, the conditions to travel beyond a radius of 10km will no longer be left to the discretion of the police.
Instead, he said the rules are clearly defined in the gazette.
However, a check of the current and previous gazette showed no change.
The gazette states that people are not allowed to travel beyond 10km but an exemption is given if the medical service, food, medicine, dietary supplement, daily necessities or other good produced by essential services cannot be found within 10km from their place of residence.
However, under such circumstances, even if one were to travel beyond 10km, it must be to the nearest place where they can obtain the said goods and services.
The MCO was supposed to end yesterday but was extended for the third time to May 12.
Malaysia has been under a partial shutdown since March 18.
Under the MCO, all non-essential businesses and services were ordered closed and people cannot leave their homes except for approved reasons, such as buying groceries within a 10km radius.
The move, aimed at curbing the spread of Covid-19, has brought a large part of the country's economy to a standstill.
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