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18 Mar 2020 | 09:51 AM UTC

Malaysia: Malindo Air suspends all international flights March 18-31 /update 6

Malindo Air suspends all international flights March 18-31; country’s first two COVID-19-associated deaths recorded March 17



On Tuesday, March 17, Malindo Air announced that it would suspend all international flights from Wednesday, March 18, through Tuesday, March 31, to prevent further spread of the ongoing outbreak of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). This announcement comes one day after Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin announced that Malaysia will close its borders to foreign travelers and Malaysian citizens will not be allowed to leave the country from March 18 through March 31.

Malaysia's health minister confirmed the country's first two COVID-19-associated fatalities on Tuesday. The first patient was a 60-year-old man with a history of chronic disease, and the second was a 34-year-old man who had recently attended a tabligh gathering in Kuala Lumpur with over 15,000 other people.

To date, there have been more than 750 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Malaysia. Further international spread of the virus is expected over the coming days and weeks.


The first case of COVID-19 was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan (Hubei province, China). Human-to-human and patient-to-medical staff transmission of the virus have been confirmed. Many of the associated fatalities have been due to pneumonia caused by the virus.

Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the global outbreak a pandemic.

Pneumonia symptoms include dry cough, chest pain, fever, and trouble breathing. Pneumonia can be contagious and can be transmitted from human to human. The influenza virus, or the flu, is a common cause of viral pneumonia.


Measures adopted by local authorities evolve quickly and are usually effective immediately. Depending on the evolution of the outbreak in other countries, authorities are likely to modify, at very short notice, the list of countries whose travelers are subject to border control measures or entry restrictions upon their arrival to the territory in question. It is advised to postpone nonessential travel due to the risk that travelers may be refused entry or be subject to quarantine upon their arrival or during their stay.

To reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission, travelers are advised to abide by the following measures:

  • Frequently clean hands by applying an alcohol-based hand rub or washing with soap and water.
  • When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue; if used, throw the tissue away immediately and wash hands.  
  • If experiencing a fever, cough, difficulty breathing, or any other symptoms suggestive of respiratory illness, including pneumonia, call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to prevent the potential spread of the disease.