Staying at home develops mental illness during the pandemic, says PM Ismail.

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KUALA LUMPUR SEPT.14: The average gross income of a household has dropped to 10.3 per cent from RM7, 901 in 2019 to RM7, 089 in 2020 and poverty has increased to 8.4 per cent involving 639.8 thousand households with 5.6 per cent or 405.4 thousands in 2019.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said, the COVID-19 pandemic has caused the national economy to shrink to 5.6 per cent in 2020.

Ismail said, the rate of unemployment has increased drastically to 5.3 per cent in 2019 involving 826.1 thousand individuals compared to 3.3 per cent in 2019.

“Around 600,000 households from the M40 group with the income between RM4, 850 and RM10, 959 a month have dropped to B40 group,” he said to a question posed by Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, MP of Port Dickson who wants clarification and what are the government’s action on the monthly income of households that have dropped to 10.3 per cent.

The Prime Minister added, among the measures taken to help the affected group due to COVID-19 pandemic are: National Prihatin Aid, People’s Prihatin Aid ((BPR) and Special COVID-19 Aid (BKC) phase 1 amounting RM24.9 billion that had benefitted 10.9 million individuals and households; Moratorium of loan repayment to seven million debtors; Electricity bill discount of RM3.14 billion benefitting 8.8 million individuals and households and retaining jobs including Pay Subsidy that has helped 300 thousand recipients and helping 300,000 employers and retaining 2.7 million jobs.

Ismail also said, asking people to stay at home after one and half years since the COVID-19 pandemic is not suitable at this time as many people have developed mental health problems.

He added, the flexibilities in the standard operating procedures (SOP) are given considering many people have been vaccinated while 11 economic sectors have been opened after the Ministry of Health (MOH) and other relevant agencies have made a balanced consideration between health, livelihood and safety.

To a question of how the COVID-19 graph could be flattened if people are free to move around in the midst of pandemic, Ismail said, the COVID-19 infections are very much depending on an individual’s self discipline and adhering to the SOP.

“Children aged below 17 could only go out with their parents and those with symptoms cannot go out of the house. The people have to make preparations as one day they will live with the COVID-19 virus,” he said.

Ismail also explained on the opening of the economic sectors by citing the hair cut service in 2020 has only one case infected by the virus and for the car wash service there is no case in 2020. –Malaysia World News


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