Published on : Tuesday, May 11, 2021
Malaysia has decided to impose a new nationwide lockdown, as the country is struggling with a massive rise in new COVID-19 cases and highly infectious variants. The government has informed that the new surge is testing its health system and hence the entire country will be placed under a near lockdown for about a month to fight the coronavirus. The latest lockdown is all set to begin on Wednesday, May 12, 2021 and likely to continue until June 7.
The new measures come just ahead of this week’s Eid al-Fitr festival, which also means that millions of Malaysians will have let go of the tradition of returning to hometowns at the end of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan for a second year in a row. Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin announced that all inter-state and inter-district travel will be banned as a part of the new measures along with social gatherings. Businesses will be allowed continue operations but at a reduced capacity.
Educational institutions will also be shut except kindergartens and daycare centres. Dine-in service will not be allowed in restaurants, and no more than three people will be allowed in private vehicles. Religious institutions will be allowed to open with limited numbers. All inter-district travel, sports and social events will also be banned. Muhyiddin even mentioned that Muslims cannot visit each other or visit family graves as is customary during the Eid festival starting Thursday to mark the end of the Muslim fasting month.
Malaysia was placed under a state of emergency by Muhyiddin in January to curb the spread of COVID-19. The repeated lockdowns as well as the disruption of travel and social lives have become a threat to the livelihoods of many in Malaysia. Therefore, the latest decision came as shock to many people as many parts of the country are already under several restrictions. However, the premier said the lockdown was necessary due to the existence of new coronavirus variants with higher infection rates and growing constraints on the public health system.
Muhyiddin mentioned that Malaysia is facing a third wave of COVID-19 that could trigger a national crisis and said that drastic action was needed to battle the new aggressive outbreak. He shared that the emergence of new virus variants with higher infection rates, constraints on the public health system and public failure to observe health measures were alarming. Malaysia has seen a spike in coronavirus infections in recent weeks, with the country reporting 3,807 new cases on Monday. It has now seen a total of 444,484 cases and 1,700 deaths.