Kuala Lumpur Restricts Movements to Stem Malaysia Covid Rise

Malaysia tightened restrictions on movements in capital Kuala Lumpur to stem the rise in new Covid infections, a day after imposing similar curbs in Selangor, its richest state.

The movement control order, or MCO, will stay in force from May 7 to May 20, Defense Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob said in a statement on Wednesday, adding the protocols already in place for other areas under MCO will apply.

Malaysia is facing a surge in Covid infections with the onset of Ramadan -- daily cases topped 3,000 last week for the first time since February -- prompting the government to review movement curbs. The country posted 3,744 new cases on Wednesday, and Selangor topped the list with 1,548 infections followed by Kuala Lumpur at 313. The detection of the Indian Covid-19 variant last week has added to the risk.

The country is also struggling with the pace of its vaccination program. Just 2% of Malaysia’s population have completed their vaccination series as of May 4, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. That tally trails neighbors Indonesia and Singapore, and puts Malaysia at risk of falling well short of its vaccination goals for the year.

At the current weekly pace of inoculations, the number of single shots given by year-end would cover 21% of the population, according to Tamara Henderson, Asean economist for Bloomberg Economics. That compares with the government’s aim to have 80% of its people vaccinated by February 2022.

Measures announced on Wednesday include:

  • Dining-in at eateries is barred, with food outlets allowed to run between 6 a.m. and midnight only for takeaway and delivery orders
  • Groceries, convenience stores and gas stations will have the same operating hours -- 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. -- except for fuel stations on highways that can stay open 24 hours
  • Farmers and wet markets allowed to operate from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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