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Lockdown extended for another 2 weeks in Malaysia



PHOTO: Flickr/Universiti Malaysia Sarawak Malaysia

The Covid-19 lockdown in Malaysia, which was due to be lifted today, is being extended for another 2 weeks, until June 28. The decision follows a spike in infections, including 60 clusters linked to religious festivals. According to a TTR Weekly report, the extension has been confirmed by Senior Defence Minister, Ismail Sabri Yaakob. During the lockdown, economic activities may continue but there is a ban on travel between districts and states, as well as a shutdown of education and sporting and social events.

Travel operators in Kuala Lumpur say the extension has not come as a surprise, pointing out that 2 weeks is not long enough to beat new, more contagious variants. Around 60 clusters reported in the last 3 weeks are being linked to religious festivals, including Hari Raya Aidilfitri and Hari Gawai. Officials in Sabah state, in northern Borneo, have also confirmed a cluster linked to a religious celebration at a church in the town of Menggatal.

Meanwhile, Datuk Tan Kok Liang, president of the Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents, has urged the government to accelerate its vaccine programme and prioritise those working in the tourism sector.

“We have written to the Minister coordinating the vaccination programme to fast track the vaccination rollout for workers in the tourism industry. This move is critical if we are to reinforce the nation’s reputation as one of the foremost tourist destinations in Southeast Asia. As can be seen, by several other countries, successful vaccination programmes result in countries being able to open their borders to international travel”.

Last week, Malaysian officials confirmed that an order of AstraZeneca doses expected from Thailand had been delayed. The country has recorded 657,508 infections since the start of the pandemic, with 3,908 deaths.



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