As the number of Covid-19 cases continues to increase, on March 16, Malaysia finally declared that the country will be placed under a nationwide movement restriction order starting from March 18 to March 31, 2020.
In a live telecast, Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said that the restriction would include the closure of all business premises, with the exception of outlets such as supermarkets and grocery stores selling everyday essential goods.
The restriction would also mean that Malaysians are not allowed to travel abroad, and that no tourists will be allowed to enter the country. Besides that, private and government sectors will also be closed starting from March 18, 2020 except those involved with the country’s essential services such as water, electricity, energy, oil and gas.
The public are also not allowed to attend gatherings that usually involves a high number of people such as religious and cultural events. All private and public institutions including kindergartens, primary and secondary schools, universities and training centers, will also be closed until March 31, 2020.
This marks the first time in the history of Malaysia that such order is enforced.
On March 11, The World Health Organization (WHO) declared the Wuhan-originated virus outbreak as a “pandemic”. This is due to the rapid surge in the number of cases outside of China over the past 14 days that has affected a growing number of countries.
In Malaysia, Selangor and Kuala Lumpur are the worst-hit states with 92 and 43 Covid-19 cases respectively. Other states with worrying numbers of positive Covid-19 cases are Sabah, Sarawak and Johor with 26, 20 and 22 cases respectively.