Malaysia lifts Covid-19 lockdown for most states but curbs remain for KL, Selangor districts

People wait in line to be tested for Covid-19 in Klang, Malaysia, on Dec 2, 2020. PHOTO: REUTERS

KUALA LUMPUR - Malaysia will lift movement curbs for most states from next Monday (Dec 7), a Cabinet minister announced on Saturday.

But the partial lockdowns, called Conditional Movement Control Order (CMCO), will be extended to Dec 20 for its capital city Kuala Lumpur, the state of Sabah and six of the nine Selangor districts.

Parts of Negeri Sembilan and Johor states will also remain under the CMCO, said Senior Minister (Security cluster) Ismail Sabri Yaakob.

He said that from Monday, interstate travel will be allowed and all roadblocks will be removed.

Only areas under full lockdowns, called Enhanced MCO (EMCO) - such as those surrounding Top Glove factories and dormitories - will be off-limits.

The areas under the EMCO have barbed wire fencing installed around them to quarantine residents and allow health workers to conduct health screenings.

Most Malaysian states, along with the federal territories of KL, Putrajaya and Labuan, were placed under CMCO from October onwards, as the country battles its third wave of coronavirus infections.

The curbs on Putrajaya and Labuan have been lifted.

Mr Ismail said in a televised address that the widespread curbs have had a heavy economic toll.

"Yesterday (Dec 4), I read on social media that many are asking what will happen tomorrow since the CMCO is expected to end," he said.

"The government understands how hard the situation can be. Whether we like it or not, we have to move forward with our lives.

"We stand to lose RM300 million (S$98.6 million) a day if the CMCO is extended… there will be more job losses and so on. Due to that, we need to be careful when taking care of the people and also the economy," he added.

Under the CMCO, while most economic activities were allowed to continue, only three people per household were allowed to venture out of their homes. Inter-state travel was banned except for work and emergencies.

Schools and entertainment outlets were shut during the CMCO, while operating hours of eateries, sundry shops and convenience stores were restricted to between 6am and 10pm.

Selangor and Kuala Lumpur have been under the CMCO since Oct 14 as Covid-19 cases surged, partly caused by the infections at Top Glove, the world's biggest maker of latex gloves, and at two KL construction sites.

Sabah and Labuan have been placed under a similar order since Oct 13 and Oct 17.

Perak, Penang and Negeri Sembilan's CMCO was imposed from Nov 9, while Kelantan's was enforced on Nov 21.

Malaysia on Saturday reported 1,123 new Covid-19 cases, taking the total to 71,359.

The number of fatalities stood at 380, with the addition of four new deaths.

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