Malaysia reports 1,111 lockdown breach arrests for Sunday

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dpa/GNA – Alleged violations of Malaysia’s pandemic lockdown rules prompted 1,111 arrests on Sunday, according to Defense Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob.

A third of the arrests were of people trying to cross boundaries between Malaysia’s 13 states, the minister said in comments on Monday. Many others were detained for offences such as breaking social-distancing rules or not wearing face masks.

Annuar Musa, another government minister, is among those facing police questioning on allegations he skirted the rules.

Daily arrests for infractions are typically in the high hundreds, with most people released after paying a fine, though a police officer in Kuala Lumpur also faces investigation for alleged sexual harassment at lockdown checkpoints.

Malaysia’s government imposed a second lockdown and declared a state of emergency last month, in response to coronavirus case numbers soaring in December.

Cumulatively, 975 coronavirus-related deaths have been reported by the Health Ministry since the start of the pandemic.

Almost 2,200 new cases of the virus were reported by the ministry on Monday, the lowest daily number since January 2 and taking the national total to more than 266,000. Almost 220,000 of those have recovered, the ministry said.

Prime Minister Muhyuddin Yassin will announce the country’s vaccination plan on Tuesday. The 73-year-old, who had cancer, will be the first to get a jab, Science Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said last week.

Khairy warned at the weekend that failing to curb the virus would further damage Malaysia’s economy, which shrank by 5.6 per cent in 2020, according to official figures released last week.

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