KUALA LUMPUR - Malaysia has extended the Covid-19 movement curbs for its capital Kuala Lumpur along with six states and two other federal territories by a week to Feb 4, as daily infections stayed above 3,000 cases for the eighth consecutive day on Thursday (Jan 21).
The one-week extension means that all Malaysian states and territories, except for the Borneo state of Sarawak, will be under the movement control order (MCO) until Feb 4, just ahead of the Chinese New Year holidays on Feb 12 and 13.
The MCO was initially imposed in five states and three federal territories for two weeks from Jan 13 and was scheduled to end next Tuesday.
The initial restrictions applied to Selangor, Penang, Johor, Melaka, Sabah and the country's three federal territories of KL, Putrajaya and Labuan.
Kelantan was placed under MCO beginning last Saturday and scheduled to end on Feb 1.
But new cases have remained above 3,000 a day in the last eight days, with the daily toll breaching the 4,000-mark twice during that period. This included hitting a record high of 4,029 last Saturday.
On Tuesday, the government added six other states - Kedah, Perak, Negeri Sembilan, Terengganu, Pahang and Perlis - with their MCO starting on Friday until Feb 4.
Only Malaysia's biggest state Sarawak, which has logged lower infections, remain under the more relaxed Recovery MCO.
Meanwhile, Senior Minister for Security Ismail Sabri Yaakob on Thursday announced an extension to restaurant operating hours during the MCO, following complaints that the initial 8pm closing time was too early.
Restaurants will now be allowed to open until 10pm, though they will still be limited to takeaways and delivery.
Under the MCO, only certain economic sectors deemed essential can operate.
Interstate and inter-district travel is banned, while only two individuals from a household are allowed to be out for errands.
Malaysia recorded 3,170 new coronavirus infections on Thursday, bringing its total to 172,549 cases since the pandemic started.
It recorded another 12 deaths, bringing total fatalities to 642.
The new daily Covid-19 cases in Malaysia have continued to outpace recoveries.
There were 2,490 recoveries were recorded on Thursday.
The country's total number of active cases stood at 41,755, forcing the government to expand facilities to treat them. A recently built makeshift hospital for Covid-19 in Serdang just outside KL will start operating on Jan 24.
Malaysia's coronavirus spike has not spared politicians, with four Cabinet ministers infected. The country's Economic Affairs Minister Mustapa Mohamed said on Thursday that he was finally discharged after a 12-day stay in a Kelantan hospital, which included three days spent in an intensive care unit. Home Minister Hamzah Zainuddin remains warded at a hospital in KL, while two other minister have both tested positive for the virus as well.