Coronavirus: Malaysia

Record surge in new infections as Malaysia's movement curbs kick in

Daily increase highest since start of pandemic; home affairs minister tests positive for virus

A few pedestrians on a street in Kuala Lumpur yesterday. From today, five states - Melaka, Johor, Penang, Selangor and Sabah - and the federal territories of Kuala Lumpur, Labuan and Putrajaya will re-enter the movement control order, where social ga
A few pedestrians on a street in Kuala Lumpur yesterday. From today, five states - Melaka, Johor, Penang, Selangor and Sabah - and the federal territories of Kuala Lumpur, Labuan and Putrajaya will re-enter the movement control order, where social gatherings are banned and dine-ins are not allowed in eateries. PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

KUALA LUMPUR • Malaysia reported a record 3,309 new coronavirus infections yesterday ahead of a renewed shutdown to be imposed in several states from today.

The tally was the biggest daily rise since the pandemic was first detected in the country on Jan 25 last year. The Health Ministry also announced four new deaths.

Cumulatively, Malaysia has reported 141,533 Covid-19 cases and 559 deaths.

The latest update comes even as another minister tested positive for the virus, bringing the total to three within the last few days.

Home Affairs Minister Hamzah Zainudin found that he has the coronavirus yesterday morning after being tested the day before.

"Therefore, Datuk Seri Hamzah will be undergoing a quarantine period subject to the Health Ministry's guidelines and its close monitoring," said a statement from the Home Affairs Ministry.

Economic Affairs Minister Mustapa Mohamed tested positive for the coronavirus last Saturday, three days after he attended a Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu) meeting at which Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin and several other Cabinet members were present.

Women, Family and Community Development Minister Rina Mohd Harun tested positive for the virus on Sunday. She was admitted to hospital on Monday.

Two other ministers who sat next to Datuk Seri Mustapa at last Wednesday's meeting - Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Mohd Redzuan Md Yusof and Communications and Multimedia Minister Saifuddin Abdullah - have gone into quarantine.

Last October, Minister in the Prime Minister's Department (Religious Affairs) Zulkifli Mohamad Al-Bakri announced that he was infected.

Malaysia has recorded more than 2,000 new cases daily for the past week, leaving the healthcare system on the brink of collapse.

Health Minister Adham Baba said yesterday those who are asymptomatic or showing only light symptoms will undergo treatment and quarantine at home.

  • 3,309 Record number of new coronavirus infections in Malaysia yesterday, the biggest daily rise since the pandemic was first detected in the country on Jan 25 last year.

    4 Number of deaths announced yesterday

    141,533 Total number of Covid-19 cases in Malaysia

    559 Total number of Covid-19 deaths

They will be "strictly monitored" by health workers.

In the light of the surging cases, Malaysia's King, Sultan Abdullah Ahmad Shah, has assented to the government's request for an emergency order that will be effective up to Aug 1, or earlier should Covid-19 cases come under control.

The emergency order comes a day after Tan Sri Muhyiddin announced that several states will be put under stringent movement controls starting today until Jan 26 to curb the rising infections.

Five states - Melaka, Johor, Penang, Selangor and Sabah - and the federal territories of Kuala Lumpur, Labuan and Putrajaya will re-enter the movement control order (MCO), where social gatherings are banned and dine-ins are not allowed in eateries.

However, food outlets - which can provide only takeaways and deliveries - as well as sundry shops, pharmacies and convenience stores are allowed to operate from 6am to 8pm.

The states of Pahang, Perak, Negeri Sembilan, Kedah, Terengganu and Kelantan will be placed under the less stringent conditional MCO, while Perlis and Sarawak will be placed under the recovery phase of the MCO.

Under the conditional MCO, most businesses are allowed to operate, but religious, cultural, recreational and sporting activities are banned. The states under recovery MCO allow social gatherings and inter-state travels with some limitations such as safe distancing.

Over 300 roadblocks were set up from midnight, with some 48,000 personnel deployed to ensure citizens comply with the movement restrictions.

Another 12,00 officers were placed on standby.

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 13, 2021, with the headline 'Record surge in new infections as Malaysia's movement curbs kick in'. Print Edition | Subscribe