Additional RM160 million approved to fight COVID-19 second wave – PM

JOHOR BAHRU, March 19 — Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin today announced an additional allocation of RM160 milliion to be channeled to 26 hospitals in the country to contain the COVID-19 outbreak second wave.

Expressing his thanks and appreciation to doctors, nurses, medical officers and all those in the Health Ministry (MOH) who have worked tirelessly for the past 90 days, Muhyiddin said the RM160 million allocation could be utilised to purchase medical and non-medical assets.

“To help the MOH implement programmes to contain the spread of COVID-19 nationwide, we have approved more than RM259 million to purchase medicine, equipment and various other needs.

“There was an application for a further RM160 million submitted to the Finance Ministry. I will inform the Finance Minister to approve it in the quickest time possible as this is a crisis that is quite serious and (the approval) cannot be delayed,” he told Bernama and RTM after a briefing by Johor Health Director Dr Aman Rabu at the Permai Hospital here on the ongoing efforts to contain the spread of COVID-19.

The prime minister said he was very appreciative of the MOH’s contributions and believes all Malaysians are also grateful of its workforce’s efforts in the fight to overcome the pandemic.

“We hope their spirits remain strong,” he said.

According to the prime minister, due to the urgency of the situation, the MOH had to sidestep the normal tender process when it came to procurement of equipment this time around so as to meet the pressing needs of the hospitals.

At the same time, Muhyiddin also reminded Malaysians that the country remain under the two-week Movement Control Order (MCO) that took effect yesterday.

“The Movement Control Order is in force and my advice remains the same; no gatherings, shut down schools, stay at home and do not venture anywhere until the situation improves.

“The 14 days set should be taken seriously as the virus is still spreading. We do not want anyone being a victim to this dangerous virus, so its best to just stay at home,” Muhyiddin.

Despite being given some leeway to shop for essentials such as food and medicine, the prime minister advised the public to limit their outdoor hours and to practise social distancing.

As for those who are part of the manufacturing workforce of sectors allowed to operate, the prime minister said they are also subjected to the standard operating procedures issued by the Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI).

“We do not want society to take this lightly. We must all lend our fullest cooperation to prevent this pandemic from spreading further.

“It’s been three days (since MCO was announced), but the number of cases are still going up. If we were to strictly follow directives and do not go out, then we can hope for the situation to improve and cases to reduce.

“That is why these two weeks are critical for all Malaysians, and if we are to adhere to the directives, then we could emulate China, where they managed to contain the outbreak in two months despite the virus originating from there itself.

Muhyiddin explained that this was because the public were not allowed to go out with strict laws in place to deter them from doing so.

— BERNAMA

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