CREST activated emergency response for COVID-19 in January 2020 by assisting Wuhan City and later, Hubei Province. As COVID-19 spread internationally, Malaysia’s Ministry of Health detected multiple local transmission clusters in early March. The largest cluster was due to a religious gathering held from 27 February to 1 March 2020 in Sri Petaling, Kuala Lumpur.
By the 10th of March, Malaysia was ranked first among Southeast Asia countries for the highest number of confirmed cases reported. Very quickly, a public health emergency was declared by the government and a Movement Control Order (MCO) (referred in some countries as a lockdown) to break the chain of local transmission was imposed. During the same period, WHO announced on 11 March that the spread of COVID-19 has become a global pandemic.
The first MCO which started on 18 March 2020 was planned for 14 days. However, it was later extended. Subsequently, MCO was replaced by Recovery MCO which commenced on 10 June until further announcement.