KUALA LUMPUR — During a televised speech on Thursday night to mark the start of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, Malaysian Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin announced that a lockdown aimed at stemming the coronavirus pandemic will be extended until May 12.
Although Malaysia’s new cases of Covid-19, the disease caused by the virus, have dropped to well below 100 a day over the past week – and recoveries among the infected have risen to 63 per cent of the 5,603 confirmed total – Muhyiddin did not rule out extending the restrictions beyond mid-May.
“You may not be able to celebrate Hari Raya (the holiday marking the end of Ramadan) in your kampung (village),” the prime minister warned.
The lockdown, known officially as a Movement Control Order, was first imposed on March 18 and has now been extended into a fourth two-week phase.
The six weeks of lockdown have so far seen at least 20,000 people arrested for alleged breaches of the curbs, which require people to stay at home unless commuting to work in essential services or shopping for food and other provisions – requirements Muhyiddin described as a “a great jihad and sacrifice” in his speech.
The Ministry of Health had earlier ruled out Malaysia re-opening its borders before domestic restrictions are lifted.
Muhyiddin said some restrictions will be lifted in sectors of the economy – which the the central bank believes will contract by up to 2 per cent in 2020 due to the pandemic. Any loosening will be “a minor relaxation,” the prime minister said.Show