Malaysia to go on lockdown from tomorrow
All houses of worship and most businesses to close, with ban on public gatherings from tomorrow
KUALA LMPUR: Malaysia will go on lockdown from tomorrow to March 31 to contain the coronavirus outbreak, Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin said yesterday night in a live telecast.
All houses of worship and businesses are to close, except supermarkets, markets, minimarkets and convenience stores, with Friday prayers suspended for Muslims, in line with a decree by the Malaysian king.
Save for essential services like utilities, telecommunications, transport, banking, health, pharmacies, ports, airports, cleaning and food supplies, all other government and private premises will also be closed, he said, the Malay Mail reported.
This includes all schools and universities.
Tourists will not be allowed to enter the country, while Malaysians are banned from travelling overseas. Those returning to Malaysia will have to undergo health checks and a 14-day self quarantine period, The Straits Times reported.
Mr Muhyiddin also said there will be a ban on public gatherings and movements, including religious, sports, social and cultural activities.
Malaysia reported 25 new cases of Covid-19 yesterday, bringing the total number of cases in the country to 553.
Mr Muhyiddin said: "I hope that you will be patient in facing this challenge. Do not panic, do not be anxious, and stay calm.
"I believe that with these measures by the government, we will be able to combat the spread of this outbreak soon."
NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL
He urged everyone to abide by the lockdown, adding that the national security council will meet daily to monitor the situation, The Straits Times reported.
He also said that food and medical supplies, including face masks will be sufficient.
The Philippines also imposed strict home quarantine measures and a halt on work and transport across its main island of Luzon yesterday, putting half of the population on lockdown in an aggressive bid to quell rising cases, Reuters reported.
The government would, with immediate effect, compel people to remain in their homes and rely on deliveries of food and medical supplies, while transport and work would be suspended except for essential services, presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo said.
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte told mayors to act decisively to enforce quarantines and said violators of the lockdown would be arrested by the police and the military and would face jail.
"Make no mistake, we are in the fight of our lives," Mr Duterte said.
"We are at war against a vicious and invisible enemy. One that cannot be seen by the naked eye. In this extraordinary war, we are all soldiers."
The main island of Luzon is home to more than half of the country's 107 million population.
The Philippines has seen confirmed cases rise to 140 - from only three cases 10 days ago - with 12 deaths, Reuters reported.
The measures would be an expansion of a lockdown of Manila that came into effect at the weekend.