KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia may extend the restricted movement order beyond two weeks if the current measures fail to contain the spread of COVID-19, said Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin on Wednesday (Mar 18).
He urged Malaysians to just stay at home during the two-week control order, which is enforced from Wednesday until Mar 31, to break the chain of infection.
“By doing so, you are protected from COVID-19 infection and the outbreak can hopefully be contained. This is the actual purpose of the restricted movement order issued by the government,” he said in a televised address.
If the government fails to curb the spread of the virus, an extension may be needed, Mr Muhyiddin warned.
“Therefore it is important for us to isolate ourselves and our families from being exposed to the virus, by simply staying at home, so please stay at home,” he said.
Mr Muhyiddin explained that the movement control order was for two weeks because that is the incubation period of COVID-19.
“There were cases where symptoms only emerged after 14 days.
“So the government hopes that at the end of this two-week period, those with symptoms will be successfully isolated and given treatment, thus ending the streak of infections in Malaysia, making the country virus-free,” he said.
Mr Muhyiddin added that the government cannot do this on its own and pleaded to all Malaysians to “please stay at home”.
“So, please, I plead with you again. Stay at home.
“Stay at home and protect yourself and your family,” he said.
On Wednesday, Malaysia’s COVID-19 tally stood at 790, the hardest hit country in Southeast Asia.
About two-thirds of the cases have been traced to a religious event at a mosque in Sri Petaling, Kuala Lumpur, which was attended by 16,000 people.
Two deaths were reported on Tuesday, including a man who was present at this mass gathering.
A restricted movement order barring Malaysians from travelling overseas and visitors from entering the country is imposed for two weeks. During this period, schools and non-essential businesses are closed.