Malaysia will be implementing a nationwide restricted movement order that will be effective from 18 March, said Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin
Muhyiddin announced this during a special address about the government's measures to tackle the COVID-19 outbreak at 10pm today, 16 March.
He emphasised that the government is taking the coronavirus pandemic that has affected 135 countries across the world seriously and thus, taking more drastic measures to curb the spread of infection.
The restriction will be implemented until 31 March 2020.
According to Muhyiddin, this is not a military lockdown, but a nationwide measure under the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act 1988 and Police Act 1967
There will be no curfew imposed, but the public is highly discouraged from leaving home unless absolutely necessary.
For one, there will be restrictions on all public movement and mass gatherings of all purposes - social, religious, sporting, or cultural.
To implement this, all places of worship and business premises will be closed, except supermarkets, public markets, and convenience stores that sell everyday necessities.
Specifically for Muslims, all religious activities in mosques, including Friday prayers, will be suspended in line with the Special Muzakarah Council's decision made on Sunday, 15 March.
There will also be restrictions on citizens entering and exiting the country, he said
All Malaysians will be banned from travelling overseas until the end of the month; while those returning from overseas must undergo health checks and self-quarantine for 14 days.
All foreign tourists and visitors will also be banned from entering the country during this time.
Furthermore, all kindergartens, primary schools, high schools, colleges, and private and public universities will be dismissed
All government and private premises will also be closed, he said, except those involved in essential services such as water, electricity, energy, telecommunications, postal, transportation, irrigation, oil, gas, fuel, lubricants, broadcasting, finance, banking, health, pharmacy, fire, prison, port, airport, safety, defence, cleaning, retail, and food supply.
He urged the public to be patient, but reiterated that the government has to take drastic action in view of the rising number of COVID-19 cases in the country
"We have seen a rapid increase in the COVID-19 outbreak to tens of thousands of people in a short time in several other countries," he said.
"Of course, brothers and sisters, we do not want the same thing to happen in our country."
By limiting the movement of the public, the government hopes that the spread of infection can be prevented from destroying more lives.
"I also want to assure you that the supply of food, daily necessities, and healthcare supplies including face masks will be sufficient."
"I appeal to our brothers and sisters to always obey this order. This is our collective responsibility that we have to carry out as rakyat that is concerned for our families, our community, and our country," he said, adding that he will personally chair special daily National Security Council Meetings to monitor the COVID-19 outbreak in the country.
"I hope we will be able to endure this challenge. Don't panic, don't worry, and stay calm."
A total of 125 new COVID-19 cases were reported today, bringing Malaysia's total of confirmed cases to 511: