KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia on Monday (Sep 28) said it will impose strict movement restrictions in four districts in Sabah after reporting more than 1,000 COVID-19 infections there in September.
Defence Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob said that as part of efforts to contain the outbreak, non-essential businesses in Lahad Datu, Tawau, Kunak and Semporna districts will be required to shut down from Tuesday for 14 days.
READ: Sabah state election: PM Muhyiddin unveils 'I promise' manifesto to extend more aid amid COVID-19
The partial lockdown comes amid a recent surge of COVID-19 infections in Malaysia and concerns that a state-wide election that concluded on Saturday will exacerbate the outbreak.
Malaysia reported 115 new COVID-19 cases on Monday, with Sabah accounting for 98 of the infections.
Of the new cases, 112 are local transmissions while three are imported cases.
Malaysia's tally of infections has surpassed the 11,000 mark, with 11,034 cases. There are 1,011 active cases.
About 960,000 residents in Sabah will be affected by the Targeted Enhanced Movement Control Order (TEMCO), said Mr Ismail Sabri.
“Taking into account the number of cases, the government, on the advice of health minister, has decided to implement an administrative TEMCO in these areas,” he added.
During the TEMCO, all residents are prohibited from leaving the affected areas, and non-residents and visitors are not allowed to enter the four districts.
Mr Ismail Sabri said all business activities in the four districts will be halted except for essential goods and services, while medical bases will be opened in those areas.
All entry points to and from the affected areas will also be closed. To ensure full compliance, the Royal Malaysia Police, Malaysian Armed Forces, Malaysian Civil Defence Force, Malaysian Volunteer Corps Department, local authorities and authorised personnel will control the areas.
“For the implementation of this order, all residents are asked to remain calm and give full cooperation to the staff from the (health ministry) and comply with all directives issued by the authorities,” said Mr Ismail Sabri.
Sabah accounts for 25 per cent of the crude palm oil produced in the world's second-largest exporter.