Malaysia tightens curbs in capital as virus cases climb

AFP
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia Published: May 06, 2021, 12:08 PM(IST)

The Petronas Twin Towers – Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia Photograph:( Reuters )

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Only certain types of businesses, such as supermarkets, petrol stations and medical clinics, will be allowed to operate while the restrictions are in force

Malaysia will tighten coronavirus curbs in the capital to combat a fresh spike in cases, with only essential businesses allowed to operate and restaurant dining-in banned, authorities said Wednesday.

The partial lockdown in Kuala Lumpur, initially set to last from May 7 to 20, comes a day after officials announced tougher restrictions in several districts surrounding the city.

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The Southeast Asian nation was hit by a fresh Covid-19 outbreak at the start of 2021, prompting authorities to re-introduce curbs not seen since the start of the pandemic and declare a state of emergency.

Infection rates fell and measures were eased — but cases started climbing again in recent weeks as people went out to shop and socialised more. 

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Announcing the new curbs in Kuala Lumpur, Defence Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob said at least 17 new infection clusters were detected in the city last month.

Only certain types of businesses, such as supermarkets, petrol stations and medical clinics, will be allowed to operate while the restrictions are in force, he said.

Eateries can remain open but only for takeaways.

Most people have already been working from home for months.

Health authorities in the country of 32 million reported 3,744 Covid-19 cases Wednesday — around half in the capital and neighbouring Selangor state — and 17 deaths. 

Daily cases have frequently topped 3,000 in recent days.

Malaysia's outbreak remains less severe than in many other countries, with officials reporting over 400,000 cases and almost 1,600 deaths. 

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