South-east Asia

Coronavirus: Kedah tightens curbs as cases increase

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ALOR SETAR • Kedah has ramped up restrictions in areas where Covid-19 cases have been detected in the northern Malaysian state, with these restrictions taking effect immediately.

The state's Menteri Besar Muhammad Sanusi Md Nor said dining-in would no longer be allowed at eateries in Tawar, Baling, Kuala Muda and Sala districts and several locations in Yan.

These eateries would be allowed to only deliver food to homes and offer takeaways.

Mr Sanusi said operating hours for night markets would be limited from 4pm to 8pm; while groceries, sundry shops, and 24-hour convenience stores would be allowed to operate from 8am to 8pm.

Public parks in the affected districts would also be closed.

He said the new guidelines were decided at the state's Security Working Committee meeting chaired by him on Sunday.

"The order only applies to places at risk where positive cases have been recorded.

Kedah has been recording a rising number of cases in recent weeks, with the federal Health Ministry reporting 65 active cases on Monday, up six from Sunday, according to Malaysiakini's compilation of Covid-19 data.

With 65 cases, Kedah has the highest number of active cases among Malaysia's 13 states and three federal territories including Kuala Lumpur. The state with the next biggest number of active cases is Sabah with 16.

Four active clusters of Covid-19 have been detected in Kedah, namely Sivagangga, Tawar, Muda and Sala.

The chief minister said all social programmes, including those planned by government agencies, would be postponed.

"Any form of celebration ceremonies, including weddings, will need to be put on hold," he said. "Any mosque or religious institution with Covid-19 positive cases are ordered to close immediately to enable sanitisation and be further monitored."

Kedah has already announced the cancellation of state-level National Day programmes.

Places of interest that are usually crowded for the celebrations, such as the beaches at Pantai Merdeka and Pulau Sayak, will also be closed from Aug 28. Malaysia will celebrate its 63rd year of independence on Aug 31.


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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 19, 2020, with the headline Coronavirus: Kedah tightens curbs as cases increase. Subscribe