ALL LOCKED UP

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KUALA LUMPUR (April 15): Looks like the 6,000-odd residents of Selangor Mansion and Malayan Mansion will have to sit tight for a while more, after the government announced that the two flats will continue to be under lockdown until April 28.

Notably, nearby streets — namely Jalan Munshi Abdullah, Jalan Dang Wangi, Jalan Tunku Abdul Rahman, Jalan Tun Perak, Jalan Melaka and Jalan Ampang — have also been placed under the enhanced movement control order, or EMCO, from today until April 28 as well.

Jalan Munshi Abdullah is where Menara City One, the third area subjected to tighter restrictions due to high Covid-19 cases, is located.

Selangor Mansion and Malayan Mansion, two of the earliest-built flats in downtown Kuala Lumpur, have been placed under lockdown after 15 people there were found to have contracted Covid-19 after a random field screening.

With barbed-wire barricades set up around the buildings to keep residents in and visitors out, Jalan Masjid India, along which the buildings are located, has fallen unusually quiet since the EMCO was imposed on April 7.

More unnerving is the sight of solemn figures garbed in white protective gear trooping in and out of the buildings throughout the day, while residents — who are forbidden from leaving the place until the directive is lifted — peep quietly out their windows to get a glimpse of what is going on.

Occupied by mostly migrant workers now, these two flats, while not the tallest in the capital city, have always been part of the bustling and vibrant Jalan Masjid India area that was once famous for its concentration of tailors, textile shops and chettiars. It is just about an eight-minute walk away from the 113-year-old Masjid Jamek. And since the 1970s, Jalan Masjid India has been frequented by white collar workers, like lawyers and bankers around the area.

But following the influx of migrant workers in the late 1990s, old residential buildings in the area like Selangor Mansion and Malayan Mansion have been turned into jam-packed homes of migrant workers, especially those from Nepal, Bangladesh and India. While there are still a number of textile shops, many have called it a day as emporiums and mega shopping malls mushroom around the city.

Now, these two flats have been placed under the EMCO while scenes right out of a pandemic movie are playing out in real life. The directive, according to the government, will only be lifted once everyone has been screened for signs of the coronavirus, which has infected over 4,000 people in the country and killed more than 80.

Outside of the city, the government had also ordered two areas in Simpang Renggam, Kluang and seven villages in Hulu Langat to be placed under the EMCO.

However, the directive was lifted from most of the affected areas in Hulu Langat, except for a house and a tahfiz school.

Here are some shots of the latest lockdown in the city centre, taken by The Edge's photo team:

Photo Gallery

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    Apr 8, 2020