Malaysian Prime Minister Announces One-Month Semi-Lockdown

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia — Malaysia’s leader says the whole country will be placed under a near lockdown for a month from Wednesday, but all economic sectors will be allowed to operate.

The announcement came as a surprise as movement restrictions are already in place in parts of Malaysia, including Kuala Lumpur and the richest state of Selangor. It also comes amid public criticism against the government’s haphazard and inconsistent measures to deal with the pandemic.

Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin said Monday tougher action was needed to battle a new aggressive wave of outbreaks before it turns into a national crisis. Daily coronavirus cases have been rising in recent weeks, pushing Malaysia’s tally up three-fold since January to over 444,000.

All education institutions will be shut, except kindergartens. No dine-in is allowed in restaurants, and only three people are allowed in a private vehicle. Muhyiddin said all economic sectors can operate during the lockdown until June 7 but at reduced capacity. Malaysia last imposed a national lockdown last year that halted all economic activities and dealt a blow to its economy.


NEW YORK (AP) — President Joe Biden promised to distribute hundreds of millions of free COVID-19 tests and to open more testing sites to fight surging infections, but the stepped-up efforts will not come in time for people who want to find out if they are infected before the holidays.

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