Malaysia imposes tough curbs to try to stem rise in Covid cases

PM Muhyiddin says nation's health system "at breaking point"; new safety measures will run for 14 days

PUTRAJAYA: Malaysian Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin yesterday announced stricter curbs as part of measures to stem the steep rise in coronavirus infections.

The new measures will start tomorrow and end on Jan 26.

"Our health system can no longer afford to handle 2,000 daily Covid-19 cases. It is at a breaking point," Mr Muhyiddin said in a televised address.

"To break the Covid-19 chain, the government, with the advice of the Health Ministry, has decided to implement the movement control order (MCO) for a period of 14 days."

The toughest curbs will be imposed in the worst-hit parts of the country, namely Melaka, Johor, Penang, Selangor and Sabah - and the federal territories of Kuala Lumpur, Labuan and Putrajaya.

The curbs include:

  • Only two people per household are allowed to purchase groceries at nearby supermarkets or grocery stores.
  • Only two people allowed per vehicle
  • Road blocks will be mounted; movements limited to 10km radius
  • Only five essential economic sectors allowed to operate: Manufacturing, construction, service, trade and distribution, and plantations and commodities.
  • Eateries and hawker stalls allowed only takeaways.
  • Food delivery services allowed.
  • Supermarkets, healthcare services (including clinics, hospitals and pharmacies), banks allowed to operate
  • Individuals must keep 2m distance at all times.

The states of Pahang, Perak, Negeri Sembilan, Kedah, Terengganu and Kelantan will be placed under the less-stringent conditional MCO, while Perlis and Sarawak will be placed under the recovery phase of the MCO.

Mr Muhyiddin also said there will be no interstate travel nationwide during the 14 days.

To break the chain of infection, social activities involving mass gatherings such as weddings, religious processions such as Thaipusam, meetings and group sports activities will not be allowed.

Malaysia recorded 2,232 infections yesterday, bringing the country's tally to 138,224.

There were four fatalities, raising the death toll to 555. - THE STAR, THE STRAITS TIMES