Vehicles in Malaysia forced to turn back at state borders

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1,248 motorists stopped at 147 roadblocks and made to U-turn for violating interstate travel restrictions

PUTRAJAYA: In Malaysia, the number of people attempting unauthorised interstate travel continued to rise with 1,248 motorists ordered to turn back nationwide, said Senior Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob yesterday.

He said the vehicles were stopped at 147 roadblocks set up at state borders after 218,027 vehicles were checked on Saturday during the conditional movement control order (MCO).

"Those who are trying to sneak their way to 'balik kampung' (annual mass exodus to home towns) are increasing significantly from 508 on Friday to 1,248 yesterday," he said.

About 14 per cent or 971 of the total number of Covid-19 cases have a history of interstate travel, says Health director-general Noor Hisham Abdullah.

He added that such cases were a concern to the ministry.

"About 18 clusters from a total of 48 recorded in the country are linked to activities which involve crossing state borders. Ten of these clusters are still active," he said yesterday.

Mr Ismail Sabri said everyone has to cooperate to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

"Sacrifice returning to your home towns this year for the greater good... We all should focus on complying with the conditional MCO and bringing the number of Covid-19 cases down," he said.

Malaysia reported 22 new cases yesterday, bringing its total to 6,894.

The country reported no new deaths, with total fatalities remaining at 113.


In the Philippines, the government yesterday called for vigilance against the coronavirus, a day after hordes of people trooped to shopping malls and ignored safety protocols, as the authorities began loosening a two-month lockdown.

Photos and videos showing shoppers in some malls in Manila violating physical distancing rules went viral on Saturday, drawing widespread public criticism and alarm, prompting the government to issue fresh health warnings.

The government warned malls would be closed again if they do not strictly implement physical distancing and crowd control measures.

The country reported 208 new cases and seven more fatalities. The total number of cases have risen to 12,513, while its death toll has climbed to 824.

There was more discipline in Thailand as it opened up its malls.

Shoppers who flocked to Thailand's top-end malls yesterday, as they reopened in a gradual easing of restrictions, passed through temperature checks and disinfection stations.

They also had their photos taken before they were allowed in.

Thailand's infection numbers have been slowing in recent weeks - the authorities announced three new cases yesterday, with the total at just over 3,000.

In Indonesia, there were 489 new coronavirus cases taking the total to 17,514.

There were also 59 deaths, taking the total to 1,148. - THE STAR, REUTERS, AFP