‘I don’t have a choice’: Malaysia’s PM says the nation’s borders will be shut for another 2 weeks till Apr 14

Malaysia has had 1,796 reported cases of coronavirus infection – including 17 deaths – as of 1pm on Wednesday.
Facebook/RTM – Radio Televisyen Malaysia

Malaysia is extending its Movement Control Order (MCO) by two weeks from its initial end date, Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin announced on Wednesday (Apr 25).

Originally slated to last from March 18 to 31, the MCO will now end on April 14, The Star reported.

This comes after Malaysia reported a spike in new Covid-19 cases.

“The trend is expected to continue for a while before we can see the number of new cases reported decline,” the PM said in a televised briefing.

“I know you feel burdened but I don’t have a choice. I have to extend the MCO for your own safety,” he was reported by The Star as saying.

According to The Star, Malaysia has had 1,796 reported cases of coronavirus infection – including 17 deaths – as of 1pm on Wednesday. A total of 62 are in intensive care.

Of the total number of cases, 673 were identified in the last week alone.

During the announcement, the PM also told the public to be “mentally and physically prepared to stay at home for a reasonably longer period of time,” The Edge reported.

He also told Malaysians to stay calm, and assured that the country had sufficient supply of food so stocking up was unnecessary.

Loan repayments postponed

Earlier in the day, the PM also announced a six-month postponement of loan repayment, restructuring of credit card balance and business loans, Bernama reported.

“People of all walks of life whether entrepreneurs, farmers, fishermen, daily workers are wondering about their economic position,” he was quoted as saying.

From April, local banks will offer a moratorium or postponement of repayment up to six months to individual borrowers and SMEs, he said.

Credit cardholders facing difficulties can also convert their credit card balance to term loans, and borrowers can defer their credit card repayments from April 1 to December 31, 2020.

Businesses can also consult with their banks on restructuring their repayments, Bernama reported.

Spike in cases could put strain on medical resources

A day before the announcement, the Ministry of Health’s director-general Datuk Seri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah had warned that an exponential spike in cases would put a strain on the nation’s medical system.

“The worry is if there is an exponential spike in cases. Our capabilities are limited…Then we have to choose which patient will have the ‘privilege’ of ventilators,” he was quoted by The Star as saying.

“We hope we do not come to that stage where we have to decide which patients can have ventilators and those who can’t, ” he reportedly said.

He also urged Malaysians to follow the MCO.

“Success and failure depend on each and everyone of us, ” he said.

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