Malaysia's Kedah tightens restrictions after Covid-19 clusters detected in state

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ALOR SETAR (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Kedah has ramped up restrictions in areas where Covid-19 cases have been detected in the northern Malaysian state. The restrictions will take effect immediately.

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

Instead, he said eateries there would be allowed to only deliver food and offer takeaways.

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

Public parks in the affected areas would also be closed.

He said the new guidelines were decided during the state's Security Working Committee meeting chaired by him at Wisma Darul Aman on Sunday (Aug 16).

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

"We also decided that social programmes, including those by government agencies and departments, will be postponed.

"Any form of celebration ceremonies, including weddings, will need to be put on hold.

"Any mosques or religious institutions with Covid-19 positive cases are ordered to close immediately to enable sanitisation and be further monitored," Mr Sanusi said.

Kedah has been recording rising number of cases in recent weeks, with the federal Health Ministry reporting 65 active cases on Monday (Aug 17), up six from Sunday.

Events cancelled include the state-level National Day programmes.

Places of interest that are usually crowded for the celebrations, such as Pantai Merdeka and Pulau Sayak, will also be closed from Aug 28.

So far, four active clusters have been detected in Kedah, namely Sivagangga, Tawar, Muda and Sala.

On Monday, another northern state, Penang, barred entry by overseas visitors seeking medical treatment until it finalises new health and safety procedures in the light of the coronavirus crisis.

The authorities toughened curbs on movement in some parts of the island over the weekend as new infections emerged after more than three months with no cases.

In a statement, the government said three Indonesian patients had arrived by special flights last Friday to be treated at private hospitals, two victims of cancer and one in need of immediate treatment.

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