PUTRAJAYA (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Seven out of 10 districts in Kelantan, including its capital Kota Baru, will be placed under Malaysia's strict lockdown beginning on Friday (April 16), after the number of Covid-19 cases spiked in the east coast state.
The affected seven districts are Kota Baru, Pasir Mas, Pasir Puteh, Bachok, Machang, Tumpat and Tanah Merah.
The tier-1 Movement Control Order (MCO) was last imposed for most Malaysian states in mid-February.
The Kelantan MCO will be for 14 days until April 29, with a ban on inter-district travel and curbs on most social activities.
Only the rural districts of Jeli, Gua Musang and Kuala Krai are unaffected, with these areas to remain under the second-tier conditional MCO.
Malaysia's Senior Minister (Security) Ismail Sabri Yaakob said that the health authorities confirmed an increase in the number of cases by 30.5 per cent in Kelantan in the last two weeks.
He said for the past 14 days, the number of cases rose to 1,088 cases from 756 cases.
Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri also reported that nine new clusters were reported over the past 14 days.
"The government has agreed to impose the MCO in the seven districts in Kelantan until April 29. Among the standard operating procedure is to have roadblocks placed at the districts, as well as state borders," he said.
"All economic and business sectors that have been given approval by the relevant ministries and agencies will be allowed to operate," he said on Wednesday (April 14).
Most Malaysian states have relaxed movement curbs for the fasting month of Ramadan that started on Tuesday, but the Kelantan state government has banned the popular Ramadan food bazaars and evening prayer service in mosques.
The main stadium in the state, located in Kota Baru, is being converted into a Covid-19 treatment centre.
Covid-19 daily cases in Malaysia have stubbornly remained above 1,000 in the last seven weeks, and notched 1,889 cases on Wednesday to bring the cumulative total to 365,829, the third-highest in South-east Asia after Indonesia and the Philippines.
There were eight more Covid-19 related deaths on Wednesday to bring total fatalities to 1,353.