• The lockdown will take effect for two weeks from March 18, with all businesses shut except shops selling food and daily necessities
• Malaysians will be barred from travelling overseas, while mass gatherings across the country have been prohibited
Malaysia’s Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin arrives for a press conference in Putrajaya, Malaysia. Photo: EPA
Malaysia has announced restrictions on movement for two weeks from March 18, barring its citizens from travelling overseas and shutting all businesses except shops selling food and daily necessities, in a drastic move to stem a surge in coronavirus infections.
In a live address on Monday evening, Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin said the Movement Control Order would be in effect until March 31.
“The government views this situation seriously, especially with the development of the second wave [of infections],” he said.
“We can’t wait any longer for things to get worse. Drastic action should be taken immediately to prevent the spread of the disease by limiting public movement. This is the only way we can prevent more people from being infected by the outbreaks that can destroy lives.”
The lockdown is similar in effect to that imposed by Italy, with mass movements and gatherings across the country prohibited, including religious, sports, social and cultural activities.
To enforce this, all houses of worship and business premises must be closed except for supermarkets, public markets, convenience stores and convenience stores selling everyday necessities. All religious activities in mosques will be suspended, Muhyiddin said, including Friday prayers.
The prime minster also said all Malaysians who had just returned from overseas were required to undergo a health check and self quarantine for 14 days. Restrictions have also been imposed on the entry of tourists to Malaysia, but foreigners will be allowed to leave the country.