Malaysia Locks Down Until June 7, No Raya Visits

Muhyiddin Yassin says all economic sectors will be permitted to operate, but employers are mandated to implement work-from-home policies.

KUALA LUMPUR, May 10 — The National Security Council (NSC) has decided to enforce a Movement Control Order (MCO) on the entire country from this Wednesday until June 7 to curb a surge of Covid-19 cases.

Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin said in a statement today that house visits and visits to the grave during the upcoming Hari Raya Aidilfitri celebrations are prohibited.

“Throughout this period, all economic sectors are permitted to operate,” Muhyiddin said.

“The government will continue to use the HIDE system to monitor premises and Covid-19 hotspots, besides taking follow-up action as decided,” he added, referring to the predictive analytics system that has marked predominantly shopping centres and supermarkets as areas that may lead to Covid-19 clusters.

Muhyiddin described the current Covid-19 surge as the “third wave” still, despite the markedly different nature of far more severe outbreaks that hit multiple states since last month, compared to the beginning of the third wave in Sabah last October.

The decline in Covid-19 cases lasted just four weeks after MCO 2.0 on Kuala Lumpur, Selangor, Penang, and Johor — the country’s urban centres — was lifted on March 5, before a spike of infections that rapidly filled up intensive care units (ICUs) in hospitals across the Klang Valley, Kelantan, Sarawak, Johor, and Penang.

Malaysia recorded an average 3,621 daily Covid-19 cases in the 18th epidemiological week from May 2 to 8. More than 4,000 new infections were recorded daily on May 7 and May 8.

“Data and science continue to show that gatherings without social distancing and the presence of many people in crowded spaces are the main cause of Covid-19 transmission. The chain of Covid-19 transmission can only be broken by encouraging the general public to stay at home through tighter movement restrictions,” said Muhyiddin.

Aidilfitri prayers in mosques and suraus are permitted with a maximum of 50 congregants for those that can accommodate more than 1,000 people, and 20 people for facilities with a capacity of less than 1,000. The same congregation size limits apply to Friday and daily prayers.

Non-Muslim places of worship will also be subject to stricter operations; the Unity Ministry will issue standard operating procedures (SOPs) for these places, said Muhyiddin.

People will not be allowed to cross district or state lines except for work, economic, health, or emergency reasons, vaccinations, or for visits between long-distance couples.

Employers are mandated to implement work-from-home policies, with a limit of 30 per cent of management staff allowed to be in office at a time. 

Dine-ins at eateries are prohibited; only drive-throughs and takeaways are permitted.

All forms of social gatherings, including feasts, wedding and engagement celebrations, tahlil prayers, dinners, birthday celebrations, and official events in the public and private sectors, are prohibited. 

Any in-person seminar, conference, and meeting is also not permitted. 

Wedding ceremonies are permitted with the limits on attendance and SOPs to be determined by the state religious authority for Muslims and the National Registration Department for non-Muslims.

All educational institutions will be closed during the MCO, with exemptions for students sitting for international examinations. Child care centres, kindergartens, and daycare centres, however, will be permitted to operate according to SOPs.

The government is further limiting the number of occupants in private vehicles, taxis, and e-hailing vehicles to three, including the driver. Occupancy limits in goods-carrying vehicles and those involved in the economic and industrial sectors depend on the permitted limits in the registration licence of trade vehicles.

The number of passengers allowed on public transport must be in accordance with physical distancing and other SOPs.

All sports and recreational activities are prohibited, except for individual sports and recreational activity in open areas like jogging, cycling, and exercise with physical distancing.

District and state travel restrictions, as well as prohibitions on social, sports, and educational activities, apply from May 10 to June 6, while other orders and prohibitions take effect from May 12 until June 7.

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