COVID-19 cases take a dip; interstate travel is lifted in RMCO states

Malaysia is showing signs of recovery after several months of record-high COVID-19 daily cases. This is marked by the total of 1,280 confirmed COVID-19 cases recorded yesterday, 9th March 2021 – a new low for daily cases in 2021. It’s also a small win for us all, as daily cases have stayed below 2,000 for 4 consecutive days now. 

Also yesterday, 9th March, Senior Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob announced in a press conference that interstate travel for tourism purposes will be permitted in states under the Recovery MCO (RMCO). Shows with live audience will also be allowed in all states. 

Limited interstate travel and shows with live audience allowed

With the recent dip in cases, more relaxed guidelines have been announced yesterday. This includes easing guidelines on interstate travel, but with restrictions in place. In a concept known as a “travel bubble”, those living in states undergoing RMCO will be allowed to travel to other RMCO states for tourism purposes, as stated by Senior Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob and reported by The Star.

The other restriction for interstate travel is that tourists can only travel with a tour agency vehicle, as private vehicles are still prohibited from crossing state borders. 

COVID 19 Daily Cases In Malaysia, Interstate Travel Now Allowed - tourism interstate travel
Image credit: KLIA2

This new guideline will be effective today, 10th March, and applies to the states of Langkawi – which switched to RMCO status as of yesterday – Melaka, Pahang, Terengganu, Perlis, Sabah, as well as the Federal Territories of Putrajaya and Labuan. The RMCO in these states is slated to end on 18th March. 

COVID 19 Daily Cases In Malaysia, Interstate Travel Now Allowed - live audiences
Live performances now allowed to operate and welcome back audience
Image credit: The Kuala Lumpur Performing Arts Centre (klpac)

Another announcement made by the Senior Minister yesterday is that work from home orders will remain for the duration of RMCO and Conditional MCO (CMCO), as reported by Malay Mail. If employers require employees to return to their workplaces, there is a mandatory 30% capacity limit in place for those working in CMCO states, while full capacity is allowed in RMCO states. 

Events, such as official government events, TV programmes, and stage, comedy and cultural shows, will now be allowed to host live audiences too, as stated by the Senior Minister and quoted by Free Malaysia Today. But pre-booking will be required, and the audience will have to observe social distancing by leaving gaps in between seats. States under the CMCO will also limit the capacity of venues to 50%. 

Daily COVID-19 cases drop below the 2,000 mark in the past 4 days

Not too long ago, Malaysia was recording over 4,000 new COVID-19 cases in a single day. But things are looking up in recent days, as yesterday’s daily cases marked 4 days where the daily COVID-19 cases have stayed below the 2,000 mark. It’s also been 13 consecutive days where daily COVID-19 cases have fallen below the 3,000 mark. 

Of the 1,280 COVID-19 cases reported yesterday, 464 of them were from Selangor, 165 were from Johor, and 163 were from Sarawak. Melaka and Labuan recorded zero new cases, while Perlis had just 1 case and Pahang had 2. 

COVID 19 Daily Cases In Malaysia, Interstate Travel Now Allowed - daily cases
Image credit: Kementerian Kesihatan Malaysia

There was a total of 9 new clusters reported yesterday. Malay Mail reported that Health Director-General Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah announced that 6 of them were workplace clusters, and the rest were community clusters in Johor and Pahang, and a high-risk group in Kedah

Yesterday’s daily 2,345 recovered cases reported brings Malaysia’s tally of total recovered cases to 296,379 – or a recovery rate of 93.71%. 

COVID 19 Daily Cases In Malaysia, Interstate Travel Now Allowed - cases by state
Image credit: Noor Hisham Abdullah

Interstate travel for tourism allowed under RMCO, while COVID-19 cases take a dip

The end of the MCO 2.0 in all states brought with it updated guidelines that lifted travel restrictions within districts, and more easing guidelines as of yesterday. But we should continue to follow SOPs while vaccinations are rolled out nationwide, even with the daily COVID-19 cases taking a dip in recent days.

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Cover image adapted from: The Kuala Lumpur Performing Arts Centre (klpac) and KLIA2

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