Malaysia has announced a total lockdown of the country for two weeks from Wednesday (March 18), in a drastic move to curb the spread of Covid-19 infections.
In a live address on Monday (March 16) evening, Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin said: “We can’t wait any longer for things to get worse. Drastic action should be taken immediately to prevent the spread of the disease by limiting public movement. This is the only way we can prevent more people from being infected by the outbreaks that can destroy lives.”
He added that the government would implement the Movement Control Order from March 18 until March 31.
Mr Muhyiddin announced that houses of worship and business premises must be closed, except for supermarkets, public markets, convenience stores and convenience stores selling everyday necessities.
All religious activities in mosques will be suspended, he added, including Friday prayers.
All Malaysians who had just returned from overseas were required to undergo a health check and self-quarantine for 14 days.
There will also be a ban on all foreign tourists and visitors.
The number of Covid-19 cases in Malaysia has climbed to 553, the highest in South-east Asia. It reported 125 new cases on Monday – 95 of which are linked to a mass Islamic religious meeting held last month.
Singapore, meanwhile, announced on Sunday evening that 14-day self-quarantine notices would be issued to arrivals from the other nine members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean), as well as travellers from Britain, Japan and Switzerland. /TISG