‘Total lockdown’ in Malaysia to slow pandemic


Malaysia’s 32.75 million population woke up to two weeks of “total lockdown” on Tuesday, with only essential businesses allowed to operate and people told to stay within 10 km of their homes.

Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin said late on Monday that his government would spend the equivalent of $1.2 billion to offset the economic impact of the measures, DPA news agency reported.

Defence Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob said earlier that shops and malls will close, apart from retailers selling “basic necessities,” while hotels can only provide pandemic quarantine facilities.

Unlike during the first lockdown from March-May last year, some outdoor exercise, such as jogging, is allowed during this latest shutdown.

And, while public worship was banned last year, the rules this time around allow up to 12 people to pray at mosques simultaneously.

The “total lockdown,” effectively a tightening of a third lockdown imposed earlier in May, was announced last week by Muhyiddin in the wake of weeks of record-breaking coronavirus-related death and case numbers that, measured per capita, had surged beyond those seen in India.

Muhyiddin had vowed not to impose more lockdowns after last year’s contributed to a second quarter gross domestic product contraction of around 17 per cent.

The Health Ministry reported almost 67 virus-related deaths and almost 7,000 new cases on Monday, both down on Saturday’s record 98 fatalities and more than 9,000 cases.

Health Minister Adham Baba said on Monday that the number of people who had received both vaccine doses had topped 1 million.