Malaysia’s health ministry has proposed retaining a ban on interstate travel throughout the Eid holiday season, state news agency Bernama said on Thursday, as the number of coronavirus cases in the country rose to a 5-week high.
Muslim-majority Malaysia has gradually eased movement curbs since embarking on a nationwide inoculation program in February, though the cabinet has yet to decide on whether to allow interstate travel ahead of the Eid al-Fitr festival on May 13.
The Southeast Asian nation has seen a spike in infections in recent weeks, with the country recording 2,148 new COVId-19 cases on Thursday, the highest daily rise since March 5.
“As daily cases are still rising and not yet stable, this interstate travel needs to be postponed,” Health Minister Adham Baba was quoted as saying by Bernama.
Separately, Director-General of Health Noor Hisham Abdullah said in a statement authorities had identified 2 more cases of a highly contagious coronavirus variant first discovered in Britain.
Noor Hisham said the variant, also known as B.1.1.7, was found in 2 Malaysians who had traveled to Poland last month and tested positive for the virus upon their return on March 30.
The latest infections bring the total number of cases involving the variant detected in Malaysia to five, he said.
Malaysia has reported a total of 367,977 COVID-19 cases, including 1,363 fatalities.