More now on this hour’s breaking news from Malaysia. The country will enter a full lockdown from the first of June for two weeks as covid-19 infection’s their search. Melissa joins us live now from Kuala Lumpur for more meall. The government has confirmed a total lockdown.
Yes, indeed. A return to a total lockdown is inevitable, according to a statement released by the prime minister’s office. This after a record-breaking number of new cases Malaysia’s witnessed in the past week, surpassing 8000 marks a day, and looks set to rise further as infectivity rate is still hovering around one point two. Now, the health care system is already at a breaking point and a new wave is a lot more infectious and harder to control. And with the mounting death toll of more than two thousand five hundred, the government said a full lockdown is for two weeks from June 1st to 14.
And during a period, only essential services can operate the rest to stay at home. Now it’s a full lockdown. Details will be released by the National Security Council later, the statement said. Now, if the situation improves, the country then will move into phase two or four weeks, where there will be some relaxation in the movement restrictions with certain sectors that can appear strictly to the social distance being allowed to operate. Now, phase three thereafter will involve further easing like what we have right now.
But details still sketchy at this point in time. But it appears to be a plan with three phases involved depending on the situation on the ground. The Malaysians are gripped by the announcement today, and some, of course, will be welcoming because this is the fastest way, they said, to bring cases down, while others are considering the cost of the economy may be great at two point four billion. Bring it a day, that’s over 600 million U.S. dollars, something that they have been weighing between life and livelihood for this while.
And the pressure is also on Malaysia to now accelerate its vaccination drive. What’s the progress been on that?
Well, it’s a race against time, but with most of the vaccine supply yet to arrive, the minister in charge of the National Immunization Program is Jamaluddin extra public to be patient and promise that the pace of vaccination will pick up significantly from June onwards. That’s when some of the 16 million doses of vaccines are scheduled to arrive over the next couple of months. Now, since the rollout began last February, some 10 percent of the target population of twenty-six million people have received their first shots.
At least now it’s still a long way off before the country can achieve herd immunity. Now people are getting impatient, especially with daily runaway cases and mounting death toll. But Minister Hiree is confident to vaccinate 80 percent of the population, he said, by year’s end. In fact, he announced today that the Malaysian state of Sarawak will be the first to be fully vaccinated. His promise to deliver four point four million doses of vaccines to the state government. Now, speaking from the state capital, quoting Mr.
Hiree said This is to make sure that the country will not see a repeat of the substate state election. Remember last September that unleashed a third wave of the pandemic, which today is still raging? Because what happened was back then people visited Sabbar, including the politicians, and brought back the virus and spread to all the states across the peninsula. And now, Sara, what’s the election is long overdue and everyone is worried about that. And the hiree said they must make sure that the state is ready when that happens when the time comes.
I don’t know if you remember what happened during the summer state election. If the state of Iowa is not fully vaccinated by the time they have the state elections, then not only the state of Iowa, but the entire country of Malaysia is at risk of another wave and we cannot afford that. So it’s not a political matter of preference. Rather, it’s a legal requirement for Iowa to have its elections 60 days after the emergency is lifted.
Now, Malaysia declared a state of emergency back in January to contain the spread of covid-19 that unfortunately is still raging right now. The emergency proclamation expires on August 1st.