Malaysian Prime Minister, Muhyiddin Yassin, on Thursday announced that a lockdown aimed at stemming the novel coronavirus pandemic will be extended until May 12.
He made the announcement during a television broadcast to mark the start of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
Malaysia’s new cases of COVID-19 have dropped to well below 100 a day over the past week.
Although recoveries among the infected have also risen to 63 per cent of the 5,603 confirmed cases, Yassin did not rule out extending the restrictions beyond mid-May.
“You may not be able to celebrate Hari Raya (the holiday marking the end of Ramadan) in your kampung (village),’’ the prime minister warned.
The lockdown, known officially as a Movement Control Order, was first imposed on March 18 and has now been extended to a fourth two-week phase.
The six weeks of lockdown have so far seen at least 20,000 people arrested for alleged breaches of the orders which require people to stay at home with the exception of those in essential services or shopping for food and other requirements.
The Ministry of Health had earlier ruled out Malaysia re-opening its borders before domestic restrictions are lifted.
Yassin said some restrictions would be lifted in sectors of the economy which the central bank believed would contract by up to 2 per cent in 2020 due to the pandemic.
Any loosening will be “a minor relaxation,” the prime minister said.