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29 Apr 2020 | 03:56 PM UTC

Malaysia: Authorities announce easing of COVID-19 social distancing restrictions from April 29 /update 17

Malaysia News Alert

Malaysian authorities ease COVID-19 social distancing restrictions from April 29; follow authority directives

TIMEFRAME expected from 4/29/2020, 12:00 AM until 5/12/2020, 11:59 PM (Asia/Kuala_Lumpur). COUNTRY/REGION Malaysia

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Event

On Wednesday, April 29, Malaysian health authorities announced the easing of social distancing restrictions introduced amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. Individuals will now be permitted to leave their homes to buy food and other essentials with a second family member from the same household until May 12, when the Movement Control Order (MCO) will conduct a further review on the COVID-19 situation.

Additionally, the MCO dictates that eateries, markets, and petrol stations are only allowed to operate from 08:00 to 20:00 (local time). Additional roadblocks have been set up, and checks on the movement of people have been increased. The restrictions do not affect public transport, including taxis and e-hailing services, which will operate from 06:00 to 22:00. The government has recommended the public use delivery options to purchase meals and groceries but minimize their contact with delivery riders. Additionally, vehicles delivering or collecting essential goods are advised to operate between 19:00 and 07:00 to avoid backlogs. Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin stated that any further extensions or relaxations of restrictions would be made following data provided by the Health Ministry.

Malaysian authorities announced on Sunday, April 26, that Malaysians who wish to return from Singapore will need to obtain an entry permit from the Malaysian High Commission in Singapore beginning from Monday, April 27. Applicants are to submit the required documents at least two days prior to traveling. Additionally, Malaysians returning home from Singapore will no longer be allowed to self-quarantine at home but will be sent to either a government quarantine facility or hospital. Under the latest measures, only 400 Malaysian workers will be allowed to return to the country daily.

On Sunday, April 5, local authorities suspended all international flights at Penang International Airport (PIA); however, domestic flights will continue to operate as usual from PIA. All inbound flights will now land at Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KUL), and passengers will be quarantined upon arrival. To date, there are no restrictions in place for foreign nationals that wish to leave Malaysia or for travelers intending to transit/transfer within terminals at KUL.

As of April 29, there have been 14,885 confirmed cases of COVID-19 nationwide, with 327 associated deaths. Further international spread of the virus is expected in the near term.

Context

The first case of COVID-19 was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan (Hubei province, China). Human-to-human and patient-to-medical staff transmission of the virus have been confirmed. Many of the associated fatalities have been due to pneumonia caused by the virus.

Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the global outbreak a pandemic.

Pneumonia symptoms include dry cough, chest pain, fever, and trouble breathing. Pneumonia can be contagious and can be transmitted from human to human. The influenza virus, or the flu, is a common cause of viral pneumonia.

Advice

Measures adopted by local authorities evolve quickly and are usually effective immediately. Depending on the evolution of the outbreak in other countries, authorities are likely to modify, at very short notice, the list of countries whose travelers are subject to border control measures or entry restrictions upon their arrival to the territory in question. It is advised to postpone nonessential travel due to the risk that travelers may be refused entry or be subject to quarantine upon their arrival or during their stay.

To reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission, travelers are advised to abide by the following measures:

  • Frequently clean hands by applying an alcohol-based hand rub or washing with soap and water.
  • When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue; if used, throw the tissue away immediately and wash hands. 
  • If experiencing a fever, cough, difficulty breathing, or any other symptoms suggestive of respiratory illness, including pneumonia, call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to prevent the potential spread of the disease.

 

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