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Malaysia extends nationwide lockdown to April 14

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This handout photo released on March 2, 2020 by Malaysia’s Department of Information shows the Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin signing a document on his first day at the Prime Minister’s Office in Putrajaya. AFP

KUALA LUMPUR (Malay Mail) – The existing movement control order (MCO) enforced nationwide will be extended to April 14, Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin announced yesterday.

In his special address at the midway point of the original MCO period, Muhyiddin said he was briefed by the National Security Council (NSC) and the Health Ministry about the continued rise in coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases.

“The trend is expected to continue for a while before new cases begin to subside. This means that the government must continue the MCO for a longer period of time.

“I am announcing the extension in advance so that my fellow citizens will be prepared,” he said.

Muhyiddin also said mass testing for the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) will be done by the Health Ministry at high-risk areas to curb its spread in the country.

Muhyiddin said such efforts must be kept up before Malaysia can fully break the chain of Covid-19 infections that were still rising.

“This means that the public’s movement must continue to be controlled. The government’s strategy is to seek, test, isolate and treat Covid-19 patients.

“The Health Ministry will therefore increase its capacity to conduct screening tests on a larger scale. This includes conducting mass testing particularly in high risk areas,” he said.

Muhyiddin said the government’s strategy would succeed if members of the public do not expose themselves to the infection through daily interactions.

“In other words, we want to halt the spread of infection. Just be mentally and physically prepared to stay at home for a reasonably longer period of time,” he said.

He also said the Health Ministry has made preparations to prepare 3,585 beds in 34 hospitals nationwide to cater to COVID-19 patients, with 34 per cent of the existing bed capacity currently in use.

“If there is an increase of positive COVID-19 cases that went beyond the existing capacity in hospitals, several locations have been identified to be turned into temporary quarantine and isolation centres,” he said.

Malaysia today entered the eighth day of the original two-week long movement control order to contain and break the chain of infection of the Covid-19 virus.

Up to 5pm on Tuesday, Malaysia recorded 1,624 Covid-19 infections with 1,426 active cases and a total of 183 patients recovered.

As of yesterday, a total of 17 fatalities related to COVID-19 were recorded.

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