: The first phase of the Movement Control Order (MCO), implemented from March 18 to yesterday, has shown signs of early success in efforts to control and flatten the curve of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Health director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said although there were surges in the number of cases, they were mainly due to the Health Ministry's action in carrying out screening actively.
Referring to the COVID-19 graph in Malaysia, he said the red line as projected by the Malaysian Institute of Economic Research (MIER) showed that the number of cases was expected to increase in the first phase of the MCO.
"The blue line refers to the cases recorded by the ministry. This shows that the blue line is beginning to plateau or the curve is flattening," he said at the daily COVID-19 press conference here today.
He explained that the ministry would improve its strategy and activities at idenfitied hotspots during the second phase of the MCO, which began today and will end on April 14.
"If there is a surge in the number of cases at these hotspots, we will enhance the MCO in these areas. We will screen everyone in the affected areas, including testing and treating them," he said.
Asked if people can go back to their hometowns during the coming Hari Raya period, Dr Noor Hisham said it was still too early to decide as it would depend on whether the outbreak was under control or not.
"But we can see from the graph now that there are early signs that it can be contained. So, in the next two weeks, we must all intensify our practices of washing our hands and social distancing.
"Most importantly, change our behaviour and we can change the trend," he said.
Commenting on whether there was a need for bazaar Ramadan this year, he said the ministry welcomed ideas and innovations from the public for consideration.
"This is the time for us to implement innovative ideas, like for example e-bazaar, online bazaar or drive-thru bazaar. We welcome new ideas as we want to avoid huge gatherings," said Dr Noor Hisham.