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By Karen Bong
KUCHING, March 13: The federal government has decided that all mass gatherings including international conventions, sporting events, social gathering and religious events be postponed until April 30, or cancelled, in view of the escalating Covid-19 pandemic.
Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said the decision will be reviewed, whether to extend or otherwise, depending on the Covid-19 situation.
“Last night (March 12), Minister in the Prime Minister Department for Religious Affairs (Datuk Seri Dr Zulkifli Mohamad Al-Bakri) has issued a guideline for worship gathering at mosque to prevent the spread of Covid-19.
“I hope that all Islamic authorities in all the states will follow suit to issue similar guideline by taking advice and instructions from authorities, especially the Health Ministry,” he said in a special address on Covid-19 this evening.
Muhyiddin also urged religious events of other religions involving large-scale gathering to follow the advise and instructions of the Health Ministry issued from time to time.
With daily updates on the Covid-19 situation from the Special Committee headed by the Health Ministry, he gave assurance that essential supplies were sufficient in the country.
“For parents with school-going children, the government through the Education Ministry will take preventive measures including cancelling all kinds of mass gathering to prevent the spread of the disease,” he said.
Muhyiddin said he was aware that Malaysians were becoming increasingly worried of the Covid-19, in which the World Health Organisation (WHO) had declared a pandemic due to the increase in cases around the world.
“Up until today, there were an increase in new Covid-19 cases following the detection of two major cluster events that mostly involved Malaysians.
“With the existing trend, the outbreak is expected to continue for a considerable period of time. It would not stop any time soon,” he said.
As preparation to face more serious situation, he added that the government will step up screenings in all international points of entry, implement travel restrictions on affected countries and provide special routes for visitors from these countries.
The government, he said, will continue to implement travel restrictions on three regions in China namely Hubei, Jiangsu and Zhejiang; Hokkaido, Japan; Italy, Iran and Republic Korea.
He also discouraged Malaysians from travelling to countries affected by Covid-19.
“The government will also increase the number of hospitals to treat Covid-19 cases. Up until today, there are as many as 26 government hospitals and a university hospital (University Malaya Medical Centre) dealing with the Covid-19 cases.
“Other than that, collaboration with private hospitals and hospitals under the Malaysia Defence Ministry and university hospitals have started making preparations to admit increase of Covid-19 patients,” he added.
He informed that 57 government hospitals and 170 health clinics nationwide were ready to implement health screenings on those showing Covid-19 symptoms. — DayakDaily