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Malaysia imposes restrictions on movement in latest Covid-19 battle

Maya Taylor

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PHOTO: Facebook/Udayan Bhattacharyya
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Officials in Malaysia have introduced a number of additional restrictions aimed at curbing the spread of Covid-19, following a record near 7,000 new infections yesterday. Sunday was the fifth day of new cases remaining above 6,000. A Nation Thailand report states that new disease prevention measures aim to curb the movement of people as much as possible without adversely affecting the economy.

From tomorrow, businesses may only operate between the hours of 8am and 8pm each day. 80% of government employees and 40% of workers in the private sector are to work from home, with between 7 – 8 million workers affected by the measure. Venues considered high-risk are to be closed with immediate effect and public transport can only operate with a maximum of 50% capacity.

Malaysian PM Muhyiddin Yassin has introduced the restrictions in an attempt to flatten the curve of new infections without disrupting a fragile economy that was just beginning to recover. Back in January, with only essential sectors allowed to operate, the Malaysian economy lost around 700 million ringgit (over 5 billion Thai baht) a day. The PM says these latest restrictions therefore, are an attempt to balance public health needs with economic recovery.

“Life is important; I also don’t want the economy to collapse. If the economy collapses, I may have to spend half a trillion now. That’s what we have learnt over time. We have to balance. The government’s decision is based on the situation.”

Meanwhile, fewer than 3% of the country has been fully vaccinated, lagging behind neighbouring Singapore and Indonesia. The PM says the national vaccine rollout will pick up in June once additional doses of Pfizer, AstraZeneca, and Sinovac arrive.

“Our procurement deal is to cover more than 100% of Malaysians; the question is when the supplies arrive. We have more than 600 centres and we should be able to vaccinate 150,000 a day, but we haven’t reached there yet.”

Since the start of the pandemic, Malaysia has recorded 512,091 cases and 2,248 deaths.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

 

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