Malaysia extends coronavirus curbs by two weeks to May 12
PM Muhyiddin: If number of cases shows significant reduction, measures may be eased
KUALA LUMPUR : Malaysia will extend travel and other curbs aimed at fighting the spread of Covid-19 by two weeks to May 12, Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin said yesterday, but more sectors may be allowed to resume operations.
Malaysia reported 71 new confirmed cases of the virus yesterday, raising the cumulative total to 5,603.
The Health Ministry also reported two new deaths, raising the total number of fatalities from the outbreak to 95.
For weeks, Malaysia had the highest number of infections in South-east Asia, but daily increases have now slowed to double digits.
"Should the number of Covid-19 cases show significant reduction, the government may ease curbs on movement in stages in several sectors including the social sector," Mr Muhyiddin said in an address to the nation.
He said the movement control order (MCO) could still be extended further.
"Detailed guidelines will be given to investors and the corporate sector to restart their sectors," he said.
"With the possibility of extending the period of the MCO, the government is studying methods to revive the economy in stages.
"This includes crafting an economic recovery plan over the short- and medium-term to ensure economic activity can be revived quickly at the end of the MCO."
Mr Muhyiddin said finance officials had been asked to formulate a plan for South-east Asia's third largest economy that would encourage domestic spending, among other things.
He also said the estimated 100,000 undergraduates who have had to put up at their universities during the MCO will be allowed to go home once the logistics have been worked out.
"Plans are being made. Ensuring their safety is the highest priority. Be patient as we work out the logistics," he said.
INDONESIA'S TRAVEL BAN
In a separate development, Indonesia will temporarily ban domestic and international air and sea travel starting today, barring a few exceptions, to prevent further spread of the virus, Transport Ministry officials said yesterday.
The ban on air travel will be in place until June 1, Transport Ministry's director general of aviation Novie Riyanto Rahardjo said. The ban on travel by sea will be in place until June 8, sea transportation director general Agus Purnomo said.
Cargo transportation is exempted from the ban, the officials said.
Indonesia yesterday reported 357 new Covid-19 cases and 11 new deaths, taking the total number of infections and fatalities to 7,775 and 647 respectively, Health Ministry official Achmad Yurianto said.
Two of Indonesia's largest Islamic organisations, Nahdlatul Ulama (NU) and Muhammadiyah, have called on Indonesian Muslims to observe the fasting month of Ramadan at home.
To ensure that Muslims follow the rules, NU and Muhammadiyah have issued religious fatwas advising them to refrain from performing mass prayers.
"(At-home prayer) is an endeavour that is justified by Islamic and scientific considerations to prevent the spread of an outbreak.
"Do not think we are under normal conditions. The fact is that this is an emergency situation," Muhammadiyah chairman Haedar Nasir said in a written statement on Wednesday. - REUTERS, JAKARTA POST, THE STAR