Coronavirus: Extension of movement curbs necessary to stop 'unusual disease', says Malaysia's Mahathir

A police officer stands at a roadblock with soldiers to maintain Malaysia's movement control order in Kuala Lumpur on March 25, 2020.
A police officer stands at a roadblock with soldiers to maintain Malaysia's movement control order in Kuala Lumpur on March 25, 2020.PHOTO: AFP

PETALING JAYA (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Malaysia's move to extend its restrictive movement curbs was necessary to stop the spread of coronavirus, said former prime minister Mahathir Mohamad.

In a video statement issued from his house, Tun Dr Mahathir described the coronavirus as an "unusual disease" even though the country had previously managed to curb the spread of other infectious diseases like Sars and H1N1.

"The MCO has been extended to April 14. Although this restricts our freedom of movement, I feel this is an order we have to follow for our own safety and the safety of our family," he said in using the acronym for movement control order, as the restrictive curbs are now known.

"This is because this disease (Covid-19) is still spreading fast in Malaysia," he said, noting that more than 100 people have been infected by the virus daily.

He warned that if people do not practice self-distancing, the virus will continue to spread.

"The best way is to isolate ourselves from friends and families, so that we do not infect them if we have the sickness and we too would not be infected if we were to shake hands and touch those who have the sickness," he said.

In urging people to be disciplined to follow the MCO, Dr Mahathir said advised people to find "something worthwhile" to do to fill their time.

"God-willing, if we follow and are disciplined, the (spread of) disease will be less and we may have a vaccine which will stop its spread," he said.

The 95-year-old himself was asked to self-isolate recently after he came into contact with an infected Member of Parliament.

 

He has tested negative for Covid-19, but still followed protocol of observing a 14-day quarantine.