The Geography of Accessibility: Assessing the Malaysian Approach to COVID-19 Pandemic Management

Kebolehcapaian Geografi: Menilai Pendekatan Malaysia Dalam Pengurusan Pandemik COVID-19

  • Che Leh Fauziah Department of Geography and Environment Faculty of Human Sciences Universiti Pendidikan Sultan Idris, Tanjong Malim, Perak
Keywords: diseases, public health, epidemic management, COVID-19, geographic accessibility


Several diseases, such as severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), influenza and Ebola, are epidemic-prone diseases that have threatened public health in the past. The coronavirus 2019 disease (COVID-19) outbreak, which started in Wuhan, China, in December 2019 and spread from there, was officially declared a public health emergency by the World Health Organization on January 30, 2020. Subsequently, COVID-19 was deemed a worldwide pandemic, as it had infected a large geographical area with a very high population density. As of 2 November 2020, more than 46,639,757 COVID-19 cases, and a total of 1,202,013 deaths, have been reported globally, and the number continues to grow. Therefore, an effective approach to public health policy is needed in most developing countries, including Malaysia, to facilitate preparation for and management of disease outbreaks in terms of health facilities, contact tracing and geographical access, at all levels of local and state governments. This article discusses an assessment of the Malaysian approach to the management of the COVID-19 pandemic, using secondary data obtained from the Malaysian Ministry of Health and online publications. The discussion shows that the introduction of technology to increase geographic accessibility will help in the management of the pandemic for all involved parties. Accessibility is an important indicator of disease control to a healthcare provider because it combines several factors, such as population, resources to access, source location and the distance between peoples’ residences and available resources.


Download data is not yet available.


ASEAN. (2012). ASEAN Vision 2025 on Disaster Management. Association of Southeast Asian Nations. Available at:

CSIS. (2020). Southeast Asia Covid-19 Tracker. Center for Strategic & International Studies. Retrieved 3 November 2020 at

Djalante, R., Nurhidayah, L., Lassa, J., Minh, H.V., Mahendradhata, Y., Phuong, N.T.N., Trias, A.P.L., Miller, M.A., Djalante, S. & Muhammad Sabaruddin S. (2020). The ASEAN’s responses to COVID-19: A policy sciences analysis. ResearchGate Publication at

Duddu. (2020). Coronavirus in Malaysia: COVID-19 Outbreak, Measures and Impact by Praveen Duddu. Pharmaceutical Technology.

Du, W., Wang, L. & Cauchemez, S. (2020). Risk of 2019 Novel Coronavirus Importations throughout China prior to the Wuhan quarantine. MedRxiv. DOI: 10.1101/2020.01.28.20019299

Dummer, T. J.B. (2008). Health Geography: Supporting Public Health Policy and Planning. CMAJ: Canadian Medical Association Journal = journal de L'Association Medicale Canadienne, 178(9), 1177–1180. Available at:

Forbes MAIL. (2020). Why Geography is a Key Part of Fighting the COVID-19 Coronavirus Outbreak. Sheperd. M. March, 5. Available at:

FMT. (2020). Hospitals Prepared for Any Increase in Covid-19 Cases says health minister. FMT Reporters, March 12, 2020. Retrieved at:

Franch-Pardo, I., Napoletano, B.M., Rosete-Verges, F. & Billa, L. (2020). Spatial Analysis and GIS in the study of COVID-19. A Review. Science of the Total Environment.

IMF. (2020). Fiscal Monitor: Policies to Support People During The Covid-19 Pandemic. International Monetary Fund. (As of April 8 2020).

Kamel Boulos, M. N., & Geraghty, E. M. (2020). Geographical Tracking and Mapping of Coronavirus Disease COVID-19/severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) epidemic and associated events around the world: how 21st century GIS technologies are supporting the global fight against outbreaks and epidemics. International Journal of Health Geographics, 19(1), 8.

KAYAK. (2020). Travel Restrictions by Country. Available at:

Kruk, M.E., Gage, A.D., Arsenault, C., Jordan, K., Leslie, H.H., Roder-DeWan, S., Adeyi, O., Barker, P., Daelmans, B., Doubova, S.V., English, M., Elorrio, E.G., Guanais, F., Gureje, O., Hirschhorn, L.R., Jiang, L., Kelley,E., Lemango, E.T., Liljestrand, J., Malata, A., Marchant, T., Matsoso, M.P., Meara, J.G., Mohanan, M., Ndiaye, Y., Norheim, O.F., Reddy, K.S., Rowe, A.K., Salomon, J.A., Thapa, G., Twum-Danso, N.A.Y., & Pate, M. (2018). High-quality health systems in the Sustainable Development Goals era: time for a revolution. The Lancet Global Health, Volume 6, Issue 11, Pages e1196-e1252. ISSN 2214-109X,

Luis, A.D.A, & Cabral, P. (2016). Geographic accessibility to primary healthcare centers in Mozambique. International Journal for Equity in Health.15:173

MDBC. (2020). Movement Control Order (MCO) Updates. Malaysian Dutch Business Council. Available at:

MOH. (2019). Petunjuk kesihatan Health indicators. Available at:

Mohd-Tahir, N. A., Paraidathathu, T., & Li, S. C. (2015). Quality use of medicine in a developing economy: Measures to overcome challenges in the Malaysian healthcare system. SAGE Open Medicine, 3, 2050312115596864.

Muhammad Ashraf, F., & Norazha, P. (2020). COVID-19 pandemic in Southeast Asia: intervention and mitigation efforts. Asian Education and Development Studies © Emerald Publishing Limited; 2046-3162.

Ng, C.W., Mohd Hairi, N.N., Ng, C.J., & Kamarulzaman, A. (2014). UNIVERSAL HEALTH COVERAGE IN MALAYSIA: ISSUES AND CHALLENGES. Faculty of Medicine, University of Malaya. Available at: Full_Paper.pdf

OECD. (2020). Country Policy Tracker. Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. Available at:

Rocha, T.A.H., da Silva, N.C. & Amaral, P.V. (2017). Addressing Geographic Access Barriers to Emergency Care Services: a National Ecologic Study of Hospitals in Brazil. International Journal Equity Health 16, 149. Available at:

Seah, S & Van Emmerik, E.G. (2020). COVID-19: Singapore has ordered the closure of all "non-essential" business premises, how can MNCs in Singapore maintain operations?. April 2020. Available at:

Samuelsson, K., Barthel, S., Colding, J., Vetenskapsakademien, K. & Giusti, M. (2020). Urban Nature as a Source of Resilience during Social Distancing Amidst the Coronavirus Pandemic. ResearchGate Preprint. doi:10.31219/

Tang K. (2020). Movement control as an effective measure against Covid-19 spread in Malaysia: an overview. Zeitschrift fur Gesundheitswissenschaften, Journal of Public health, 1–4. Advance online publication.

The Star. (2020). Lessons from the 1918 flu epidemic could help us fight Covid-19. Tuesday, 24 Mar 2020 By Assoc Prof Dr Nirmala Bhoo Pathy. Available at:

The Star. (2020). Malaysia announces movement control order after spike in Covid-19 cases (updated). Monday, 16 Mar 2020 By Ashley Tang. Available at:

Thomas, S., Beh, L., & Nordin, R. B. (2011). Health care delivery in Malaysia: changes, challenges and champions. Journal of Public Health in Africa, 2(2), e23.

Tiket2. (2020). Travel Restrictions in the Asia Pacific by Country [COVID-19 Live Update].

TODAY Singapore. (2020), Covid-19: Govt announces closures of non-essential workplaces, schools from April 7 and 8. Available at:

Tunstall, H.V.Z., Shaw, M., Dorling, D. (2004). Places and Health. Epidemiol Community Health Journal. 58:6–10. Available at:

UNDP. (2020). Goal 3: Good health and well-being. United Nations Development Programme. Available at:

WHO. (2018). Managing epidemics: key facts about major deadly diseases. World Health Organization. Available at:

Zhou, C., Su, F., Pei, T., Zhang, A., Du, Y., Luo, B., Cao, Z., Wang, J., Yuan, W., Zhu, Y., Song, C., Chen, J., Xu, J., Li, F., Ma, T., Jiang, L., Yan, F., Yi, J., Hu, Y., Liao, Y., & Xiao, H., COVID-19: Challenges to GIS with Big Data. Geography and Sustainability, Volume 1, Issue 1, 2020, Pages 77-87, ISSN 2666-6839,

How to Cite
Fauziah, C. L. (2020). The Geography of Accessibility: Assessing the Malaysian Approach to COVID-19 Pandemic Management. GEOGRAFI, 8(2), 66-91.