KUALA LUMPUR - Malaysia will place over 3,500 people in Kluang, Johor, under more severe movement restrictions beginning at midnight on Thursday (March 26) after two villages were found to have a very high number of coronavirus infections.
Affected residents in Kampung Dato Ibrahim Majid and Bandar Baharu Dato Ibrahim Majid will not be allowed to leave their homes until April 9, and non-residents will not be allowed into the villages.
According to Defence Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob, a total of 61 of the 83 Covid-19 cases in the Kluang district came from these two villages, prompting the government to enforce a lockdown in the area.
The enhanced movement control order requires all shops in the area to be shut, while residents will be confined to their homes. The state welfare department will provide food for residents during the 14-day lockdown.
These restrictions are stricter than the movement control order currently in force nationwide, which has shut schools and businesses, but allows people to leave their homes for essential goods and services, such as food and medical care.
"The enhanced movement control order will apply to 3,570 local residents from 650 families," said Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri in a statement issued on Thursday night. Explaining that the order would help prevent the virus' spread beyond the two villages, he said: "This move will enable house-to-house tracing activities to be conducted during the 14 days."
Both the army and the police will be deployed to enforce the order, which includes closing off access roads to the villages.
Malaysia recorded 235 new Covid-19 cases on Thursday, bringing its tally of infections to 2,031. There have been 23 deaths, six of which are from Johor, which is the state with the highest number of fatalities. The southern state has the third-highest number of Covid-19 patients, with 239 cases, after Selangor and capital Kuala Lumpur.
On Wednesday, the government extended the nationwide partial lockdown, originally meant to be in force until March 31, for another two weeks to April 14. The decision was made after both the number of new infections and deaths continue to rise.