Moving from phase one to four depends on three factors: the number of active cases of COVID-19, the capacity of Malaysia’s public health system, and the percentage of Malaysians vaccinated.
On Tuesday (15 June), Malaysia’s Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin addressed the nation, saying that the current implementation and extension of the Movement Control Order (PKP) nationwide is costing the government RM1bn a day. He then proposed a solution: a four-phase recovery plan aimed to steer the nation out of the pandemic.
PM Muhyiddin said: “We cannot continue like this. For the health and survival of all of us, we need to get out of the crisis immediately.”
“Today, I would like to announce the National Recovery Plan, which is a phased exit strategy from the COVID-19 pandemic.”
According to his speech, released on Facebook, the National Recovery Plan (Pelan Pemulihan Negara) consists of four phases, which upon completion will mark a “possible return to the norms of daily life.”
Each transition, from phase one to phase four, hinges on three factors:
- The state of COVID-19 transmission in the community based on the number of daily cases of infection;
- The capacity of the public health system based on the rate of ICU wards occupancy;
- The percentage of population covered with two doses of vaccine injection.
This represents the current state Malaysia is in with PKP restriction measures.
The government will only consider transiting from phase one to phase two, if:
- The average daily case of COVID-19 is below 4,000 cases;
- The public health system is no longer at a critical level, with the rate of ICU ward occupancy at moderate levels; and
- 10% of the population has received two doses of vaccine injections.
This phase will very much be a continuation of phase one with social activities and movement control similarly restricted. During phase two:
- Economic activities will be gradually eased with 80% of labour capacity allowed on premises;
- Social and cross-state activities will still not be allowed;
- The positive list approach, where only listed sectors are allowed to operate, will be expanded into manufacturing and retail sectors (i.e electronics and computers). Those in textile manufacturing and furniture, for instance, will still not be allowed.
The government will only consider transiting from phase two to phase three, if:
- The average daily case of COVID-19 falls below 2,000 cases;
- The public health system is at a comfortable level, with the rate of ICU ward occupancy at an adequate level;
- 40% of the country’s population has received two doses of vaccine injections.
Phase three, on the other hand, will see a wider expansion to the Malaysian government’s positive list approach, where all economic activities will be allowed to operate except those activities that are at higher risk for COVID-19 infection.
During phase three:
- The economic sector will similarly be allowed to operate at 80% capacity;
- Social activities including education and certain sports can begin to open up in stages; and
- All sectors of the economy will be allowed to operate except for activities not listed on the positive list—which encompasses the majority of activities that involve crowds (i.e pubs, spas, and beauty salons);
The government will only consider transiting from phase three to phase four, if:
- The average daily case of COVID-19 is below 500 cases;
- The public health system is at a safe level, with the rate of ICU ward occupancy at an adequate level; and
- 60% of the country’s population has received two doses of vaccine injections.
In PM Muhyiddin’s speech, he said: “This is the last phase of the National Recovery Plan where we can, as much as possible, return to the norms of daily life.”
“All economic sectors will be opened; more social activities will be allowed; cross-state travel will be allowed, and domestic tourism will also be opened subject to the first SOP.”
This phase, he highlighted, can only be implemented when:
- The number of COVID-19 cases is low;
- The public health system is safe; and
- The vaccination programme has reached the level of group immunity or herd immunity by the end of this year.
The Prime Minister also shared that phase four is, in fact, a dynamic plan—it doesn’t have to be implemented in numerical order.
This is because should at any point of the three phases achieve promising levels of recovery, according to the three factors, the government will consider transiting straight to it.
With that, he said: “All SOPs for the phases I mentioned will be finalised by the National Security Council (NSC), and announced in the near future.”
Beyond the National Recovery Plan, PM Muhyiddin also updated the nation on the current vaccination status. As of 15 June, more than 4.5mn doses of injections have been successfully administered to Malaysians; among which 3.2mn have received the first dose, and 1.4mn have completed the second dose of vaccine.
He urged: “For those who have not yet registered to get the vaccine shot, do so immediately on the MySejahtera application.”
“To date, the number of those who have registered is 13.8mn. Our target is to ensure that at least 26mn people in Malaysia are vaccinated by the end of this year to achieve cluster immunity.”