Malaysia announces restriction on public movements and gatherings

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KUALA LUMPUR (March 17) : The government has decided to implement the Movement Control Order from Wednesday (March 18) until March 31 to address the Covid-19 outbreak, Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin announced yesterday.
 
In a live national address tonight, Muhyiddin said the order is made under the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act 1988 and the Police Act 1967.

He said the order entails comprehensive restriction on movements and public gatherings nationwide including religious, sports, social and cultural activities.

It includes a shutdown of houses of worship and business premises, except for supermarkets, public markets and convenient stores.

“Specifically for Muslims, the adjournment of all religious activities in mosques and mosques including Friday prayers is in line with the decision of the Special Mental Health Committee meeting on March 15,” Muhyiddin said.

The sanctions also cover all Malaysians traveling abroad, as well as the entry of foreign tourists and visitors into the country, Muhyiddin said.

For those who have just returned from overseas, they are required to undergo a health check and to self-quarantine for 14 days.

All education centres will also be closed including pre-schools, government and private schools, fully residential schools, international schools, tahfiz centres, as well as private and public institutions of higher learning and skills training institutes.

The government is also shutting down all government and private premises “except those involved in essential services namely water, electricity, energy, telecommunications, postal, transportation, irrigation, oil, gas, fuel, lubricants, broadcasting, finance, banking, health, pharmacy, fire, prison, port, airport, safety, defense, cleaning, retail and food supply.

“I am aware that all of you may feel that the action taken by the government will cause inconvenience and difficulty in your daily lives,”Muhyiddin said.

“However, this action must be taken by the government to curb the spread of the Covid-19 epidemic that is likely to cost the lives of people of this country,” he said.

The prime minister urged Malaysians not to go into panic buying, reiterating that the relevant ministries have been moved to ensure adequate supply of food and other essentials including face masks are available and accessible to the public.

For further questions on the restriction, the public can reach out to the hotline at 03-8888 2010.

A total of 125 new positive cases of Covid-19 have been reported in Malaysia as of noon today. This brings the total to 553 cases so far, of which 42 patients have been cured of the coronavirus. 

(story updated)