THE much-anticipated announcement as to whether the present enhanced Movement Control Order would be extended is expected Friday.

Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin is scheduled to make the announcement on measures to control the pandemic, and this may include the status of the MCO.

Health director-general Datuk Dr. Noor Hisham Abdullah told Bernama he would brief the prime minister on the situation on Friday morning.

“By looking into the data we have, we will come up with a prediction of whether there will be a surge or not.

“Prime minister will make an announcement on what needs to be done to control Covid-19 in the country.”

The first phase of the MCO was from March 18-31, before it was extended to April 14.

The order was announced by the government as an effort to break the chain of infections.

The pandemic virus outbreak in the country continues to show improvement, and authorities are keeping fingers crossed for this continued trend with a continued decrease in admission numbers and deaths.

On Thursday, 121 fully recovered patients were discharged. This daily figure surpassed the 109 admissions of new positive cases.

The previous day the number of recovered patients (and discharged) was 166, against 156 new admissions.

Dr. Noor Hisham said with the 109 positive cases, confirmed cases in the country stood at 4,228 patients.

At present, 72 patients are undergoing intensive care treatment with 43 needing respiratory aid.

“The number of fully recovered patients and discharged from hospitals stood at 1,608 or 38.03 percent of the total cases,” he told Bernama.

As of noon today, two deaths were recorded, bringing to 67 the death toll.

“The 66th death is a 59-year-old Malaysian man with a history of autoimmune disease and other chronic diseases. He also attended the Seri Petaling gathering.

“He was admitted to the Melaka Hospital on March 31 and passed away at 5 am on April 9,” he said.

The 67th casualty was a 23-year-old Malaysian woman, the youngest ever, with a history of thyroid disease.

She was a close contact of two positive patients and is a fifth-generation patient of the Kuching church gathering cluster, but she did not attend the gathering.

Admitted to the Sarawak General Hospital on March 30, she pronounced dead at 9.42 am on April 9.

Though 67 deaths were recorded, the incidences remained low at an average rate of 1.58 percent of infected individuals, compared with approximate 4.6 to 5.6 percent in other countries.

Dr. Noor Hisham Abdullah said this was evident medical services, whether in the wards or in Intensive Care Units (ICUs), was at a good and a satisfactory level.

“Our experts such as anesthetists are able to treat patients swiftly.”

Health officials also detected 416 positive cases among non-Malaysians, including one death which was reported Wednesday.

They were Indonesia (51 people), India (37), Myanmar (31), Pakistan (29) and the Philippines (27).

In the Philippines, 206 new cases were admitted, and 21 deaths reported. This brings to 203 the total number of deaths from 4,076 cases. The number of patients discharged was 124 with 28 cases recorded Thursday.

Foreigners, including Malaysians, gather at a temporary immigration enquiry counter in Bangkok this week. – Picture by Bernama

Malaysians and a host of foreign nationals in Thailand has been granted visa extensions following travel restrictions and cancellations of flights.

The Immigration Bureau, on its website, said foreigners whose visas have expired from March 26 will be granted automatic extension till April 30.

The Immigration Bureau said foreigners who are due for 90 days’ reports between March 26 and April 30 are temporarily exempted from reporting during this period until further notice.

Thailand declared a state of emergency from March 26 to April 30. To stem the spread of COVID-19, Thailand has temporarily closed its borders and banned entry to foreigners, except diplomats and work permit holders.

In Indonesia, more than 1.2 million people have lost employment since the pandemic occurred.

Government Manpower spokesperson Ida Fauziyah said 39,377 companies had to let go of their employees or gave them leave without pay, due to losses or failure to operate.

Since the first death was recorded on March 11, economic activity in Indonesia worsened due to control measures to address the pandemic.

Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi said more and more citizens working abroad were  returning, mainly due to job losses.

‘’Between March 18 and April 8, 40,429 workers returned from Malaysia,” Bernama reported.

Singapore recorded 142 news cases bringing the tally to 1,623. To date, 406 patients recovered and have been discharged.

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