Updated: May 11, 2021 07:18 AM GMT
Muhammad Arham uses his mobile phone to talk to his family in Indonesia from his apartment in Kuala Lumpur. With returning home difficult due to travel curbs for the Covid-19 crisis, Muslims living abroad in Asia are relying on technology to connect with loved ones during Ramadan and the forthcoming Eid festival. (Photo: AFP)
Malaysia has imposed a new nationwide lockdown as it struggles to contain a surge in Covid-19 cases and highly infectious variants.
Schools and other educational institutions have been closed but Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin said some economic sectors can continue operating.
The lockdown is in force until June 7, with the PM saying the arrival of highly contagious coronavirus variants that put pressure on the health system mean there is no other choice.
All inter-state and inter-district travel has been banned along with social gatherings.
“Malaysia is facing a third wave of Covid-19 that could trigger a national crisis,” Muhyiddin said as he announced the new lockdown on May 10.
Malaysia has seen a significant increase in coronavirus infections in recent weeks, with the country reporting 3,807 new cases on May 10. It has now reported a total of 444,484 cases and 1,700 deaths.
Malaysia last week recorded its first case of the so-called Indian variant
Muhyiddin declared a state of emergency in January to curb the spread of the pandemic.
Malaysia last week recorded its first case of the so-called Indian variant, which was found in an Indian citizen at Kuala Lumpur International Airport.
As well as the disruption to travel and social lives, the country’s repeated lockdowns have damaged the livelihoods of many Malaysians.
About 60 percent of Malaysia's 32 million people are Muslim and the holy month of Ramadan would normally have meant brisk business for restaurants preparing meals for millions of Muslims who break their fast at dusk.
"I work in the food industry. One moment it's open, one moment it's closed," Mohd Rezuan, a Kuala Lumpur restaurant worker, told Reuters news agency.