Severity: Critical Alert

Entry/Exit: Malaysia extends nationwide movement controls to at least June 9 due to COVID-19. International travel, most inter-state movement banned.

This alert affects Malaysia

This alert began 10 May 2020 11:08 GMT and is scheduled to expire 09 Jun 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: COVID-19 restrictions
  • Location(s): Nationwide (map)
  • Time Frame: Indefinite
  • Impact: Transport and business disruptions, entry bans, quarantine measures

Summary
Authorities in Malaysia have extended the nationwide movement control order (CMCO) to at least June 9 to stem the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Under the CMCO, central authorities are allowing some nonessential businesses to restart operations with hygiene and social distancing measures in place. However, a ban on public gatherings and businesses in places where social distancing measures are difficult to implement, such as open-air markets and nightclubs, is still in effect. Educational institutions, most religious sites, and sports and leisure venues remain closed. Essential businesses, such as convenience stores, grocery shops, restaurants, and supermarkets, continue to operate.

Despite reduced restrictions, several state governments, including Negeri Sembilan, Penang, Sabah, Sarawak, and Selangor, plan to retain business restrictions under a previously issued movement control order while reviewing local conditions. Penang State authorities intend to permit all businesses to resume operations from May 13, subject to stringent health and safety measures. As of May 6, the more restrictive enhanced movement control order, which bars residents from leaving a building or area and bans entry for non-residents, is in effect in parts of Kuala Lumpur's Pusat Bandar Utara area.

Most interstate movement within the country remains suspended. Individuals who wish to travel between states need to obtain travel permits from authorities. Public transport can operate with half the passenger capacity. Officials are also allowing four members of the same household to travel in a private vehicle. Trains between Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KUL) and downtown Kuala Lumpur resumed May 4.

Foreign Nationals

Foreigners are not able to enter Malaysia, with exceptions for resident diplomats, foreign spouses and dependents of Malaysian citizens, and long-term visa holders working in essential industries who can present a letter from their employer upon entering the country. Malaysian nationals, including citizens who commute to Singapore for employment, remain banned from traveling abroad while the restrictions are in place. Emergency repatriation of Malaysian citizens stranded abroad has occurred on a case-by-case basis. Officials are quarantining inbound passengers at government facilities for 14 days, with exemptions for Malaysian nationals working in Singapore if they pass medical screenings before entry.

Officials in Malaysia will require foreign workers nationwide to undergo testing for coronavirus disease (COVID-19); authorities have not specified the start date. The policy affects low- to semi-skilled employees in construction, food and beverage, manufacturing, and other sectors and requires employers to pay for the cost of testing. Authorities plan to begin testing workers in Kuala Lumpur and Selangor State.

Background and Analysis
The measures adopted by the government correspond with similar actions taken by other regional governments in recent weeks in response to the spread of COVID-19. COVID-19 is a viral respiratory disease caused by infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus (previously known as 2019-nCoV). Symptoms occur 1-14 days following exposure (average of 3-7 days). These symptoms include fever, fatigue, cough, difficulty breathing, sometimes worsening to pneumonia and kidney failure - especially in those with underlying medical conditions. On March 11, the WHO declared the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic.

Advice
Follow all official health and safety measures. Ensure contingency plans account for additional disruptive measures or further extensions of current restrictions. Postpone travel if affected by travel restrictions. Confirm flight status before checking out of accommodation and departing for the airport. Follow all official instructions, particularly if traveling from affected locations. Allow additional time for immigration and health screenings at all ports of entry. Consider delaying travel if experiencing symptoms associated with COVID-19, as they may prompt increased scrutiny and delays.

Emphasize basic health precautions, especially frequent handwashing with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable. Practice good coughing/sneezing etiquette (i.e., covering coughs and sneezes with a disposable tissue, maintaining distance from others, and washing hands). There is no evidence that the influenza vaccine, antibiotics, or antiviral medications will prevent this disease, highlighting the importance of diligent basic health precautions.


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