Malaysia tightens anti-virus lockdown after more than 1,000 arrests


MALAYSIA’s shops will cut operating hours starting on Wednesday, as the government cranks up restrictions aimed at slowing a surge in coronavirus cases to 2,470, a high in the region.

During a Monday news conference broadcast on Facebook, Defence Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob said that “all supermarkets or any premises selling essential items shall observe the new operation hours, which is from 8 am to 8 pm.”

Thirty-five people have died in Malaysia after contracting Covid-19, the respiratory disease caused by the new coronavirus pandemic that has killed almost 35,000 worldwide.

Since Malaysia’s lockdown was imposed on March 18, closing borders and most businesses, the government has repeatedly warned people to stay at home, unless venturing out to shops, markets, pharmacies or other purveyors of essential goods.

Aided by drones conducting aerial patrols, soldiers have joined police in manning more than 1,500 roadblocks and checkpoints aimed at enforcing the restrictions.

“The second phase will see an increase from the aspect of roadblocks and checking on the movement of people,’’ Ismail said.

More than 1,000 people have been arrested, including more than 800 on Sunday, for alleged violations of the restraints such as jogging and playing football.

One suspect, a 61-year-old cardiologist, told police that running should be permitted for health reasons and pleaded not guilty in court. (dpa/NAN)

– Mar. 30, 2020 @ 11:05 GMT |

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