Malaysia deploys army to enforce two-week curb on travel
KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia deployed the army yesterday to enforce a two-week restrictions on travel.
The country has South-east Asia's highest number of coronavirus cases, most of them linked to a mass religious gathering held late last month.
Malaysia reported 123 new cases yesterday, taking the total to 1,306 cases, with 10 deaths. The Health Ministry said 34 of the cases were linked to the gathering.
Troops joined police manning roadblocks and carrying out patrols in Malaysia to ensure full compliance with some of the tightest movement restrictions in the region. The checks were so stringent that motorists were asked to show their order sheets and give valid reasons for coming out of their homes.
If they get a satisfactory answer, the police and soldiers would move on to the next car.
However, if they found the reasons hard to justify, they would order the motorists to turn back instead.
"Even though police have said compliance is 90 per cent now, 10 per cent is not a small number," Minister of Defence Ismail Sabri Yaakob said.
About 63 per cent of Malaysia's 1,306 cases are linked to the gathering at a mosque near Kuala Lumpur attended by people from more than two dozen countries.
The Health Ministry said 11,000 of an estimated 14,500 Malaysian attendees have been found, 6,700 had been tested, and it was trying to track the rest.
"We need to find them, we need to test them, we need to isolate them and we need to treat them," Director-General of Health Noor Hisham Abdullah told a news briefing.
The person who brought the infection may have been from overseas, he said. Some 1,500 participants were from abroad.
In a separate development, former prime minister Mahathir Mohamad has tested negative for Covid-19, but assured Malaysians that he will still follow the protocol of observing a 14-day quarantine.
According to a close aide, the 94-year-old statesman's result has been cleared by health authorities.
"The test came out negative. He has been cleared," said the aideyesterday.
It was learnt that Dr Mahathir had earlier come into close contact with an MP who had been infected. - REUTERS, THE STAR