Malaysia will tighten coronavirus limits in the capital to fight a new spike in cases, with only essential businesses allowed to operate and restaurants banned, authorities said on Wednesday.
The partial lockdown in Kuala Lumpur, originally scheduled to last from May 7 to 20, comes a day after authorities announced tighter restrictions in several neighborhoods surrounding the city.
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The Southeast Asian nation was hit by a new Covid-19 outbreak in early 2021, prompting authorities to reintroduce brakes not seen since the start of the pandemic and declare a state of emergency.
Infection rates have plummeted and measures have been relaxed – but cases have started climbing again in recent weeks as people went out shopping and socialized more.
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Announcing the new limits in Kuala Lumpur, Defense 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, gas stations and medical clinics, will be allowed to operate as long as the restrictions are in place, he said.
Restaurants can remain open but only for take-out.
Most people have already been working from home for months.
Health authorities in the country, which has a population of 32 million, on Wednesday reported 3,744 cases of Covid-19 – about half in the capital and neighboring state of Selangor – and 17 deaths.
Daily cases have often exceeded 3,000 in recent days.
The outbreak in Malaysia remains less severe than in many other countries, with authorities reporting more than 400,000 cases and nearly 1,600 deaths.