Malaysia extends lockdown in capital and other states until February

·1-min read

KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) - Malaysia on Thursday extended restrictions on movement in the capital Kuala Lumpur and five states until Feb. 4 as part of a lockdown to combat a surge in coronavirus infections.

The Health Ministry has confirmed that COVID-19 cases are accelerating within the community in many states, Security Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob said in a statement.

This week, the government placed six other states under a two-week lockdown. Essential sectors including plantations, manufacturing and construction are allowed to operate but state and international borders remain closed.

Malaysia is also under emergency rule imposed to deal with the pandemic. The political opposition has decried this as an attempt by Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin to fight off a challenge to his rule.

The Southeast Asian country reported 3,170 new cases on Thursday, bringing its cumulative total to 172,549 infections and 642 deaths.

(Reporting by Mei Mei Chu; Editing by Mark Heinrich)