Govt still deliberating on stricter Covid-19 SOP, PM announcement Monday

Modified 8 Jan 2021, 1:24 pm

UPDATED 6.35PM | The government is still deliberating on stricter standard operating procedures (SOPs) to curb the spread of Covid-19 as the pandemic worsens.

Defence Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob said Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin will be making an announcement on the matter on Monday.

"The government, through a National Security Council special session, is still fine-tuning and evaluating actions that need to be taken immediately to control the spread of the virus.

"This includes considering stricter SOPs to be implemented, especially in the social sectors, to reduce movement and the spread of the virus," Ismail Sabri said at a press conference today.

"We have been discussing it since last Friday. We discussed this at the NSC meeting, at the technical meeting this morning and at the meeting chaired by the prime minister this afternoon.

"We listened to the reports from the Health Ministry, the International Trade and Industry Ministry and the Finance Ministry. We are refining and preparing the SOPs to ensure the SOPs could be widely accepted upon announcement.

"Some wanted stricter SOPs while others prefer not so strict. For the business (community), they prefer not so strict SOPs for fear this may lead to the shutting down of businesses," Ismail Sabri said.

"So wait until next Monday. God willing, the prime minister will make an announcement then.

"I know many have been anticipating an announcement by me on the stricter action as circulated in social media today. As I said, the government always listens to the grouses and views of the people, we will take their views into consideration," he said.

On Jan 6, Health Ministry director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah warned that the health system was at the breaking point due to the surge of Covid-19 cases. He also suggested that the government imposes a targeted movement control order.

The Health Ministry projected that the Covid-19 cases in the country could reach 8,000 by end of May should the government fail to bring down the infectivity rate or R-nought (R0).

Since then, there was an allegation that government may impose movement control order 2.0 or a stricter SOP by next week and this has led to another round of panic buying.