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23 Mar 2020 | 06:25 AM UTC

Malaysia: Army deployed to enforce travel restrictions March 22 /update 7

Government deploys army to enforce two-week travel restrictions amid COVID-19 pandemic March 22; further spread of the virus likely over the coming weeks

entry/exit
health
transportation
MYS

Event

On Sunday, March 22, authorities deployed the army to help enforce movement restrictions that came into effect Wednesday, March 18, in efforts to curb the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19). The restrictions include prohibiting Malaysian citizens from leaving the country, discouraging non-essential domestic travel, and closing all schools, universities, and nonessential government services and businesses through Tuesday, March 31.

On Monday, March 16, Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin announced that Malaysia had closed its borders to foreign travelers. Malaysian citizens may continue to return to the country but must undergo a health inspection and mandatory 14-day self-quarantine.

As of Monday, March 23, Malaysia has confirmed 1306 cases of COVID-19, with 11 associated fatalities and 139 recoveries. Further international spread of the virus is likely over the coming weeks.

Context

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.

Advice

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 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.