Defence Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob sure knows how to dampen the Chinese New Year festive spirit after announcing the extension of Malaysia’s nearly nationwide lockdown for another two weeks until Feb. 18.
This is the third extension of the lockdown, which initially began in some parts of the country before expanding to nearly all areas at the end of January. Sarawak, which is the only state under the more relaxed Conditional Movement Control Order lockdown restrictions, has been exempted from this extension.
The rest of Malaysia have been placed under the strict Movement Control Order banning inter-state travel – except for long distance married couples – and large gatherings. Authorities are also expected to implement more rules for the Chinese New Year period, which begins Feb. 12.
“MCO will be extended from Feb. 5 2021 to Feb. 18 2021 in all states except Sarawak, which is under a conditional movement control order,” Ismail said today, later adding: “We expect to announce the list of Chinese New Year SOPs for states under MCO before the celebrations begin.”
The lockdowns and state of emergency have not helped to curb the spread of the coronavirus in the country, which has recorded more than 200,000 cases and 770 deaths since the outbreak began last year. New infections reached a record high on Saturday with 5,728.
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This article, Malaysia extends lockdown till Feb. 18 while it works on Chinese New Year COVID rules, originally appeared on Coconuts, Asia's leading alternative media company.