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Malaysia eases COVID-19 restrictions for Chinese New Year reunion dinner, days after announcing new curbs

Malaysia eases COVID-19 restrictions for Chinese New Year reunion dinner, days after announcing new curbs

A shopper walks in a hallway with lantern decorations for Chinese New Year celebrations at a shopping mall in Kuala Lumpur on Feb 3, 2021. (Photo: AFP/Mohd Rasfan)

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia on Sunday (Feb 7) eased COVID-19 restrictions for Chinese New Year reunion dinner, just days after announcing the initial curbs.

Up to 15 family members from different households will now be allowed to dine together for their reunion dinner, provided they live within 10km of each other, said the National Unity Ministry.

These family members are also not permitted to travel across state or district boundaries.

The ministry added that religious activities within houses of worship on Feb 11, Feb 12 and Feb 19 will now be permitted, subject to a 30-person limit. All individuals must also wear face masks and observe safe distancing.

Prayers must be kept to 30 minutes, followed by 30 minutes of cleaning and sanitation before the next prayer session is conducted.

READ: Malaysia's private hospitals step up to fight COVID-19 as cases surge 

READ: Workers from Malaysia, China resigned to spending Chinese New Year in Singapore amid COVID-19 travel restrictions

The easing of the restrictions comes three days after Senior Minister for Security Ismail Sabri Yaakob said on Thursday that Chinese New Year celebrations would only be allowed among family members from the same household.

"Family reunion dinners are allowed at their residences only among family members from the same household," he said at a press briefing.

Ismail Sabri also previously said that temple prayers would be limited to five members from the temple’s management committee.

With the exception of Sarawak, all states in Malaysia are currently under a movement control order (MCO) until Feb 18, as the country continues to battle a surge in COVID-19 cases.

READ: Reciprocate government's gesture of not shutting down economy by complying with SOPs, urges Malaysian PM Muhyiddin

READ: COVID-19: Another total lockdown would be ‘very detrimental’ to Malaysia’s economy, says finance minister

Malaysia reported 3,731 new COVID-19 cases on Sunday, as well as 15 deaths. There are now a total of 51,241 active or infectious cases in the country.

There are currently 292 patients in the intensive care unit, of which 140 require respiratory aid.

The Klang Valley area, comprising Selangor and Kuala lumpur, accounted for about half of the new infections with 1,978 cases. Johor registered 499 cases while Sarawak reported 219.

Seven new clusters were also identified, including one linked to a religious activity in Perak. There are now a total of 441 active clusters in Malaysia.

As of Sunday, Malaysia has reported a total of 242,452 COVID-19 cases and 872 fatalities. The country has reported four-digit daily increases in COVID-19 cases since Dec 9. 

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Source: CNA/zl

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