Southeast Asia’s second-largest shipping port enters two-week lockdown tomorrow

Entrance to Port Klang. Photo: Hafiz343
Entrance to Port Klang. Photo: Hafiz343

Southeast Asia’s second-largest shipping port in Malaysia will enter a two-week lockdown tomorrow amid a new wave of COVID-19 cases pushing daily increases to double digits. 

The whole of Klang district in Selangor state, including its port and 142 schools, were yesterday ordered to close by Defence Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob. He also declared the 573 sq km district housing nearly 300,000 people a “red zone,” after the area recorded 77 new infections yesterday. This means that nobody is allowed to leave or enter the area without police permission and non-essential businesses are banned from operating. 

“Residents in the affected areas are not allowed to leave for work throughout the lockdown period. Employers should respect this order and allow their workers to take leave or work from home,” the minister said, adding: “Those wishing to work or travel must obtain permission from the police beforehand. Travel is only allowed for emergencies and official duties.”

Port Klang, where thousands of ships pass through, is the second-largest shipping port in the region, with Singapore’s being the first. The district-wide lockdown is expected to affect hundreds of port workers and the thousands of school students and staff. 

Companies with staff living in Klang are urged to allow their employees to work from home until the lockdown is lifted. Schools affected include the Klang La Salle High School and the Raja Zarina Girls’ School. They are expected to resume classes online and postpone exams until after Oct. 23. 

Entrance of SMK La Salle Klang. Photo: SMKLSK/Facebook
Entrance of SMK La Salle Klang. Photo: SMKLSK/Facebook

This is the second time that a lockdown has been ordered to a specific area in Malaysia after last month’s Sabah state elections led to a surge of new infections. Several parts of Sabah gradually entered a two-week lockdown from Sept. 29. Kedah state is also seeing a new spread of COVID-19 infections but has not been ordered to be shut. 

Those under lockdown, or conditional movement control order, are banned from operating non-essential businesses. Businesses dealing with essential goods like groceries and food to operate under curfew.

Malaysia has so far recorded a total of 13,993 COVID-19 cases since the outbreak first began in February, with 489 new infections yesterday. The death toll stands at 141.

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