In response to the global Covid-19 pandemic, the government of Malaysia has confirmed it will close its borders to foreign tourists and impose a range of domestic lockdown measures, effective tomorrow (18th March 2020). The emergency measures, known as the ‘Restriction of Movement Order’ (Perintah Kawalan Pergerakan), will remain in place until 31st March.
The news was confirmed in a statement by Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin yesterday, when he made reference to Malaysia’s 1988 Deed of Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases and the 1967 Policy Deed of Escort.
In addition to a complete ban on foreign tourist arrivals, the plan also involves the restriction of movement and crowded associations throughout the country, including religious occasions, sports, social events and cultural activities. Markets, mosques, schools and public offices will also be closed. Malaysians returning home from abroad will have to undergo a 14-day period of self-quarantine.
“I am aware that many may feel that the actions taken by this Kingdom create difficulties and hardships,” said the Prime Minister in a recent statement. “However, this action must be taken by the Kingdom to stem the transmission of the Covid-19 virus, which threatens to claim the lives of the people of this country,” he added.
The actions taken by the Kingdom also include the closure of all royal and private premises, except those involved with the country’s essential services, namely water, electricity, power, telecommunications, the postal service, transportation, irrigation, oil, gas, broadcasting, finance, banking, health, pharmacies, livestock, prisons, ports, airport, safety, defence, cleaning and food supplies.
“Don’t worry and panic,” said the Prime Minister in a televised address to the nation. “Always remain calm. I believe, with this measure in place we can curb this infection in the near future. I urge everyone to follow the orders,” he added.
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