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NSC to hold special meeting tomorrow on new SOP

Putrajaya – The National Security Council’s special meeting tomorrow will hear proposals on a new standard operating procedure (SOP).

It is also expected to discuss a mixture of tighter rules in some areas and more relaxed conditions in others, said Senior Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob.

He said the council’s technical meeting, which oversees SOP in the social sector, had looked into the matter while the International Trade and Industry Ministry, the authority for the economic sector, had also presented its case for consideration.

“We received a lot of suggestions on the SOP. Some of these proposals will be presented during the special meeting as they involve policies, ” he said.

Proposals for new SOP came after the Prime Minister recently expressed his concerns over the Covid-19 situation in the country, saying the government planned to re-evaluate its rules for a speedier and more effective intervention.

Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said the action taken by the government previously was able to control the spread of the virus, but looking at the situation now, a mitigated approach was needed.

On Tuesday, Ismail Sabri said a new SOP was being drawn up not just for areas under conditional movement control order (MCO) but also for those under recovery MCO as the government looked for more effective intervention to fight the pandemic.

The minister also revealed the SOP for the Deepavali celebration which was agreed upon at a meeting between the National Unity Minister and Hindu religious leaders recently.

There will be no balik kampung travel for those in conditional and enhanced MCO areas, with prayers only allowed on the first day of Deepavali in recovery and conditional MCO zones with strict SOP in place.

Among the SOP for temple activities are prayers to be held from 7am to noon in five sessions, with 30 minutes in between for sanitisation process.

“We have asked temples to prepare counters for registration and temperature to be taken and identify those with Covid-19 symptoms.

“Each prayer session is limited to 30 people and fewer if the temple is small, ” he said.

Senior citizens, those with chronic illness and children under 12 are encouraged not to attend prayer sessions and sweets are to be packed and distributed at the end of prayers.

Ismail Sabri said in recovery and conditional MCO areas, up to 20 people would be allowed to gather in landed properties at one time during the celebration.

Those living in apartments less than 1,500sq ft can have no more than 10 guests and those living in units 2,500sq ft and above can have a maximum of 15 guests at one time.

The minister said prayers were not allowed in MCO zones and the festival could only be celebrated with family members residing in the same house.

He also announced the enforcement of conditional MCO in sub-districts in Perak, Terengganu and Negri Sembilan after more Covid-19 positive cases were detected there.

The sub-districts are Parit Buntar (Perak), Rasau in Dungun (Teregganu) and Jimah in Port Dickson (Negri Sembilan). The order will take effect from tomorrow until Nov 20. – The Star

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