MCO: 10 km limit rule relaxed for Sarawak rural areas

Those living in Sarawak’s rural areas have been given conditional relaxation of the 10 km radius rule recently enacted by the government to flatten the Covid-19 curve via the movement control order (MCO).

This was announced by Sarawak’s State Disaster Management Committee (SDMC) chairman Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah in Kuching yesterday. He said under the MCO, rural residents who want to travel beyond the restricted area must obtain permits from the nearest district police, reported by the Malay Mail. Previously, approvals were issued by the district offices.

“The issue here is 10km. If it is in the urban areas, it is not a problem, but it does in rural areas. Today, at the SDMC meeting we have forwarded this issue to Sarawak police commissioner Datuk Aidi Ismail that there should be some forms of relaxation on the enforcement on the regulations in the rural areas,” he told reporters after chairing the disaster committee meeting yesterday.

“If you see, even my longhouse in Betong, I cannot get a clinic within 10 km. It is also the case if I want to get to other facilities,” he said, adding that the state’s top cop has agreed with that point of view. “If there is no clinic or hospital or pharmacies within the 10 km radius, then you have to go to 20 km or 30 km away,” Amar emphasised.

The Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases (Measures within Infected Local Areas) Regulations 2020, which came into effect on April 1 and will be in place till April 14, stipulates that any travel for reasons allowed is restricted to a 10 km radius from an individual’s residence.

Also, according to regulations under subsection 11(2) of the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act 1988 (Act 342), the individual is not allowed to be accompanied by others, unless there are reasonable grounds, so it has to be one person per vehicle.

This is very fair for those in the interior, where distances are long. In urban areas, the shops usually aren’t very far away, so there’s no excuse to be gallivanting or going somewhere far for essentials. The cops have been mounting extra roadblocks and road closures for phase two of the MCO, so stay at home unless it’s absolutely necessary. And if you do head out, some utility bills as proof of residence would be good.

Tags: COVID-19

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