Malaysia has announced that it will go into full lockdown for a fortnight, following a surge in COVID-19 cases.
The total lockdown under the Movement Control Order (MCO) will begin on 1 June until 14 June. All economic sectors will not be allowed to operate, except essential economic and service sectors. This mirrors the strict lockdown initiated in March of last year when COVID-19 was first detected.
On Friday, the daily number of cases breached the 8,000 mark for the first time, marking an all-time high in infectivity. With over 70,000 active cases and 2,552 deaths, hospital capacity is strained, with ICU centres in the Klang Valley operating at 113 percent capacity.
The country has also stepped up its vaccine programme, making the AstraZeneca vaccine part of the national immunisation programme. National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme coordinating minister Khairy Jamaluddin has also said the government is looking at the possibility of allowing the public to choose the vaccine they want.
The fourth wave of the COVID-19 pandemic has seen it race across Asia with a vengeance, a region that had previously contained the virus successfully. Taiwan has extended its lockdown, while Australia has put Melbourne in lockdown after new cases have emerged there.