Malaysia’s 32.75 million population has awoken to two weeks of “total lockdown”, with only essential businesses allowed to operate and people told to stay within 10 kilometres of home.
Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin said late on Monday his government would spend the equivalent of $US1.2 billion ($A1.6 billion) to offset the economic impact of the measures.
Defence Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob said earlier shops and malls would close apart from retailers selling “basic necessities” while hotels can only provide pandemic quarantine facilities.
Unlike during Malaysia’s first lockdown from March-May last year, some outdoor exercise, such as jogging, is allowed during this latest shutdown.
And, while public worship was banned last year, the rules this time allow up to 12 people to pray at mosques simultaneously.
The “total lockdown,” effectively a tightening of a third lockdown imposed earlier in May, was announced last week by Mr Muhyiddin in the wake of weeks of record-breaking virus-related deaths and case numbers that, measured per capita, surged beyond those in India.
Mr Muhyiddin had vowed not to impose more lockdowns after last year’s contributed to a second quarter gross domestic product contraction of around 17 per cent.
Malaysian health ministry officials reported 67 virus-related deaths and almost 7000 new cases on Monday, both down on Saturday’s record 98 fatalities and more than 9000 cases.
Health Minister Adham Baba said on Monday the number of people who had received both vaccine doses had topped 1 million.