Speaking during a joint press conference with Finance Minister Tengku Zafrul Abdul Aziz, the senior minister said more businesses will be allowed to reopen in these states, including shops selling stationery and computers, bookstores as well as telecommunication shops.
“Inter-district and interstate travel is still prohibited, but teachers and students who are taking their major examinations this year would be able to travel to their school for classes,” Mr Ismail Sabri said.
Long-distance married couples can also travel to meet each other, but only for emergencies or under special circumstances with police permission, he added.
“Businesses in essential sectors can also increase their manpower to 80 per cent (from the current 60 per cent), but employers need to ensure that social distancing and other standard operating procedures are adhered to.”
The finance minister explained that parameters for transitioning into the various phases of the national-level recovery plan will now be applied at the state level. These parameters include daily case averages, intensive care unit (ICU) occupancy levels and vaccination rates.
This, he said, would allow individual states to transition earlier, as their local numbers had already shown great improvement, rather than wait for the national average to be attained, which might take longer.
“This refinement was suggested as a means of giving autonomy, incentive and hope to each state to continue breaking the chain of infection, increase their vaccinations and thus transition into the next phase,” said Mr Tengku Zafrul.
When asked if a state could be asked to reimpose stricter restrictions if its case numbers or ICU occupancy take a turn for the worse, he said this would first be discussed at the National Security Council’s (NSC) technical committee, before being brought to the main council for a decision.