Malaysia’s King declares COVID-19 emergency

Malaysia today declares a state of emergency to stem the spread of COVID-19. The estimates say the duration of the emergency may last until Aug. 1.

At the request of Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin, Malaysia’s King Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah, declared the state of emergency, a statement by the national palace said.

“Al-Sultan Abdullah is of the view that the spread of COVID-19 in the country is at a critical stage. Thus, there is a need to decree an emergency proclamation,” it said.

The decision in accordance with national interests and people’s safety. Hospitals are facing difficulties in admitting new COVID-19 patients at intensive care units, the press release added.

Muhyiddin last October recommended the monarch declare a COVID-19 emergency, but the request was denied.

In a televised speech later in the day, he announced the suspension of parliament. He also announced that no elections will be held.

Malaysia brought an earlier wave of the Covid-19 pandemic under control with a strict three-month lockdown. But the situation began to change in September after an election in the Borneo state of Sabah.

Muhyiddin formed a government in March 2020 after the resignation of then-Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad. He enjoys a thin majority.

The Southeast Asian country has reported more than 138,000 virus cases and 555 related deaths since the start of the outbreak. It is due to receive the first shipment of vaccines – from Pfizer-BioNTech – soon.

Authorities are also in negotiations with Oxford-AstraZeneca, Russia, China, and the World Health Organization’s COVAX initiative to procure doses for its population of over 32 million.

New COVID-19 variant detected

The Malaysian health chief announced the detection of a new coronavirus variant. It is similar to the recent UK variant. The UK variant is more contagious.

In a Facebook post, Noor Hisham Abdullah said the 22-year-old male, who had a recent travel history to the UK, tested positive for the B117 COVID-19 strain. He is in currently in isolation for further treatment.

“There has been no domestic transmission linked to the variant”, he said. He advises the public to maintain high standards of hygiene. He also advises the public to wash their hands frequently besides following other precautions.

Visit the Malaysia PMO website for more information on the emergency.

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