CONTROLLING THE SPREAD OF COVID-19 WITH MOVEMENT CONTROL ORDER (MCO) AND CONTACT TRACING IN HULU LANGAT DISTRICT, MALAYSIA
Background: Malaysia recorded its first COVID-19 case on 24 January 2020. One of the district with the highest caseloads in Malaysia was recorded in Hulu Langat. Following the rapid spread of the disease, a nationwide lockdown termed Movement Control Order (MCO) was declared on 18 March 2020. This paper aimed to assess if MCO contributed to reduction of cases and close contacts in Hulu Langat district.
Materials and Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted from 2 March to 22 April 2020. Data of COVID-19 cases and close contacts were collected from case investigation reports and official databases. Data were divided into pre-MCO and post-MCO. Descriptive analyses and Mann-Whitney U test were used to measure differences in number of cases and close contacts pre- and post-MCO.
Result: There were 456 cases recorded, with median age of 30.00 years (IQR 31.00) pre-MCO and 28.00 (IQR 23.75) in post-MCO. Majority were male and Malaysians in both periods. Most were locally transmitted (89.2%) and symptomatic (61.5%). Pre-MCO, 277 (60.7%) were diagnosed and 179 (39.3%) in post-MCO, showing significant reduction (p-value<0.05). Number of close contacts reduced significantly from 4111 (77.9%) pre-MCO to 1162 (22.1%) post-MCO.
Conclusion: There were significant reductions in number of cases and contacts between pre and post-MCO, suggesting that MCO with the public health measures taken were effective in controlling COVID-19 spread in the district.
Keywords: close contacts, COVID-19, lockdown, Malaysia, Movement Control Order (MCO).