Malaysia extends lockdown by 2 weeks

Malaysia extends lockdown by 2 weeks

PM says Asean-leading tally of new cases is still rising too fast

Homeless people rest inside cubicles at a temporary shelter set up in a gymnasium in Kuala Lumpur line with movement control orders being enforced in Malaysia. (Reuters Photo)
Homeless people rest inside cubicles at a temporary shelter set up in a gymnasium in Kuala Lumpur line with movement control orders being enforced in Malaysia. (Reuters Photo)

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia on Friday extended its one-month lockdown by another two weeks through April 28 as the country continues to see daily triple-digit increases in new coronavirus cases.

“The extension is to give space to the healthcare workers to fight the Covid-19 outbreak, to prevent it from spreading further among the community,” Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin said in a televised address.

Malaysia began imposed the nationwide “movement control order”, as it is officially known, on March 18, a day after it reported its first fatality from the disease. The death toll has since risen to 70 as of Friday.

The health ministry reported 118 new infected cases on Friday, bringing the national tally to 4,346, the highest in Southeast Asia.

Health Director General Noor Hisham Abdullah told a media briefing earlier in the day that a recommendation was made to the prime minister to extend the lockdown as data showed it had been effective so far in fighting the virus.

Under the order, schools, non-essential services and factories have been shut. The country’s 32 million people except those in critical sectors like healthcare, enforcement agencies and food have to stay at home, with only one person per household allowed to go out to buy groceries or go to the bank.

The authorities are clamping down hard on those who defy the order to stay home. Since the beginning of the lockdown until Thursday, 7,479 people have been detained. Offenders are liable for on-the-spot fines of up to 1,000 ringgit (7,600 baht).

Noting that the economy has been severely affected by the lockdown, Muhyiddin said some sectors, previously ordered shut, would be allowed to open.

According to the trade ministry, they include the automotive, construction and legal sectors, as well as barbers and spectacle shops.


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