STARTING Wednesday, all business and religious activities in the country will be suspended to curb the spread of the coronavirus, said Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin.
“The government has decided to restrict all movements in the whole country from March 18-31,” he said in a national TV broadcast tonight.
“This step will be taken under the Control of the Spread of Infectious Diseases Act 1988 and the Police Act 1967.”
“I am aware that some will be inconvenienced by these actions but this must be done to stop the spread of Covid-19,” said Muhyiddin.
“We have seen the spread of Covid-19 that began in the single digits grow into thousands within a very short period in other countries and I’m sure you don’t want the same to happen here.”
Under the movement control order, all mass gatherings are banned. With the exception of markets, stores, and provision shops, all businesses are closed, along with places of worship.
All private and public learning institutions and centres, including vocational and tahfiz schools are also closed.
Malaysians are barred from travelling abroad while arrivals are to undergo health screening and self quarantine for 14 days.
Foreigners are barred from entry into Malaysia.
All non-essential services are closed. Essential services to remain open are water, electricity, telecommunications, post, transport, oil and gas, banking, healthcare, pharmacies, prisons, ports, airports, security, defence and food.
Muhyiddin said the government could not afford to wait to take drastic measures to stop the outbreak.
“Don’t panic and keep calm. I believe that these measures will stop the spread in the shortest time.
“I would like to assure Malaysians that there are adequate food supplies and face masks. I have instructed the Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Ministry to monitor the supplies during this period.”
He said the National Security Council will meet daily to assess the situation.
Malaysia saw a sudden surge in infections yesterday and today, with 190 and 124 new cases, respectively.
Since the outbreak began, Malaysia has reported 553 cases, 511 of which are being treated in hospital while 42 have recovered and been discharged.
This is the first lockdown in Malaysia since Emergency Orders in 1969. – March 16, 2020.