Malaysia to impose stricter lockdown with 8pm curfew in parts of KL, Selangor as Covid-19 cases soar

The enhanced movement control order, which includes an 8pm curfew, will be in force until July 16, 2021.
The enhanced movement control order, which includes an 8pm curfew, will be in force until July 16, 2021.PHOTO: REUTERS

KUALA LUMPUR - Malaysia will impose stricter movement curbs on dozens of localities in its richest state Selangor and the capital Kuala Lumpur for two weeks starting from Saturday (July 3), as Covid-19 infections soar.

Senior Minister for Security Ismail Sabri Yaakob said the decision to place 34 sub-districts in Selangor and 14 localities in KL under the enhanced movement control order (EMCO) was made after the areas reported Covid-19 cases exceeding 12.1 for every 100,000 residents.

“Selangor recorded an average of 1,800 to 1,900 cases daily, while KL had between 600 and 1,000 cases daily,” Datuk Seri Ismail said in a statement on Thursday.

He also noted that the infectivity rate, referred to as the R-naught number, remained at 1.0 and had not shown a downward trend, despite a nationwide lockdown since June 1.

“This is a worrying situation when we take into account the density of residents and the spread of three new variants which is much more dangerous,” he said, referring to the Alpha variant first reported in Britain, the Beta variant detected in South Africa and the Delta variant that was first recorded in India. 

The announcement of the stricter lockdown came as the Covid-19 situation continued to worsen. Malaysia recorded 6,988 new infections on Thursday and 84 deaths.

The current lockdown, which was imposed on June 1 and extended indefinitely on Monday, will not be lifted until daily new cases fall below 4,000. Daily cases have exceeded the 6,000 mark since Tuesday.

Residents in areas affected by the EMCO will not be allowed to leave their homes after 8pm, save for emergencies. They will also be tested for the virus.

Only one person from each household is allowed to leave the home to purchase necessities, and travel is limited to a 10km radius.

Roads in areas affected by the EMCO will be closed, with all entry and exit points guarded by the police.

Affected areas include the densely populated suburbs of Petaling, Damansara and Ampang in Selangor, as well as parts of Wangsa Maju and Lembah Pantai in Kuala Lumpur.

Meanwhile, all factories in the affected areas will have to shut, save for those producing essential items such as food, face masks and medicine.

Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin had in June unveiled a four-phase exit plan out of the pandemic, with each transition guided by three indicators. The current lockdown is the first phase, while a more relaxed second phase will retain much of the curbs while allowing more economic sectors to operate.

Aside from the daily case figures, the other two indicators are the vaccination rate and the level of utilisation of intensive care unit (ICU) beds for Covid-19 cases in Malaysia’s hospitals.

The country needs to achieve full vaccination for 10 per cent of its population in order to move into phase two, but only 7.2 per cent had been fully inoculated as at Wednesday.

Coordinating minister for immunisation Khairy Jamaluddin previously said that the 10 per cent target will likely be achieved only by mid-July.