Malaysia’s King has declared a state of emergency in the country as COVID-19 cases spiral out of control, putting healthcare services at a breaking point.
The state of emergency is expected to last until Aug. 1 or when coronavirus infections subside, according to the palace statement today. The decision by Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah comes after the government called for another round of lockdowns starting tomorrow, five states and three federal territories including Kuala Lumpur to be placed under the stricter Movement Control Order banning interstate travel and large gatherings.
“A state of emergency will be a more proactive way to curb the spread of COVID-19. A special team will be formed to advise the King on when the state of emergency should come to an end,” the statement read. Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin, along with Health Director-General Noor Hisham Abdullah and national police chief Abdul Hamid Bador, had an audience with the king yesterday at 5:30pm, less than an hour before Muhyiddin addressed the nation and announced further lockdowns.
The palace also noted several hospitals hitting nearly full capacity. In its statement, the palace said that 15 hospitals have used up at least 70% of beds for COVID-19. In the Klang Valley, intensive care units at the Kuala Lumpur Hospital and the University of Malaya Medical Centre have reached full capacity.
Malaysia has recorded more than 138,000 COVID-19 infections and 551 deaths since the outbreak began. A total of 2,232 cases were reported yesterday.
The country is also experiencing floods in various parts including Kelantan and Terengganu, affecting nearly 50,000 people.
“The King invites all Malaysians to pray that the flood situation that has affected a few states in the country isn’t prolonged,” the statement added.
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