KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia: Malaysia’s hotel association, just hours before Malaysia’s prime minister announced a total lockdown in the country on Friday, was already calling for strong measures to contain the worsening Covid-19 outbreak.
According to a report in The Star Online just hours before the lockdown announcement from the Office of the Prime Minister, the Malaysian Hotels Association called for a halt to social and economic activities for two weeks. For once, the Malaysian government and the hospitality industry were on the same page.
Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin said the decision to implement the lockdown starting 1 June came after new infections breached 8,000 on Friday for the first time, sparking fears the disease could spiral out of control.
The PM’s statement said the “decision was made after taking into account the current situation of Covid-19 transmission in Malaysia with daily cases exceeding 8,000 and active cases exceeding 70,000 cases. To date, 2,552 people have died as a result of the outbreak. The existence of more violent new variants with high infectious rates also influenced today’s results.”
The Special Session of the National Security Council (MKN) on the Management of Covid-19, chaired by the Prime Minister, ordered the full closure of the social and economic sectors or ‘total lockdown’ Phase One nationwide for 14 days 1 to 14 June 2021.
During this period, all sectors are not allowed to operate except essential economic and services listed by the National Security Council.
If this Phase One lockdown succeeds in reducing the daily cases of Covid-19, the government will implement the Phase Two lockdown, which will allow the reopening of some economic sectors that do not involve large gatherings and can subject to physical imprisonment. The Phase Two Lockdown will be implemented for a period of four weeks after the first phase ends.
Based on the success of the first and second phases, the third phase will kick in, which involves implementing the Movement Control Order as currently in force where social activities are not allowed.
Meanwhile, Star Online reported that the hotel industry association CEO had called for stricter measures, just hours before the government announcement.
Malaysian Association of Hotels (MAH) chief executive officer Yap Lip Seng told The Star, “a long term plan is needed to control the situation” when speaking of the significant spike in Covid-19 cases in the country.
“The tourism and hotel industry is of the opinion that the government needs to implement stricter and more effective measures such as a total lockdown, similar to MCO 1.0 to control the spread as soon as possible.”
But Malaysian Association of Tour & Travel Agents took a slightly different tack suggesting the government should stop short of imposing a total lockdown on the nation’s economic sector.
“Striking a balance between saving lives and saving livelihoods is crucial in order for the nation to continue its journey of recovery, said the MATTA honorary secretary-general, Nigel Wong.
“The tourism sector is still a long way off from recovery and will not fully begin the recovery process until borders, both domestic and international, are reopened.
“MATTA has been calling for the government to come up with a tourism recovery roadmap. Of course, no one can foretell the future. Still, such a guideline will help the industry make strategic plans and preparations and align their recovery efforts to that of the government.”
But the country’s leaders “followed science and its data that appeared to indicate a strict lockdown presented the best option of halting the latest Covid-19 wave.
(Source: PM office, Star Online, MATTA)