UPDATED 9.20PM | The Prime Minister's Office has announced a three-phase nationwide lockdown that will start with a "total lockdown" from June 1 to 14.
"Throughout this period, all sectors are not allowed to operate except for essential economic and services sectors listed by the National Security Council," the PMO said in a statement this evening.
It said the decision - taken at an NSC meeting chaired by Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin - was in light of the country's worsening Covid-19 situation.
If the first phase is successful in bringing down the number of daily Covid-19 cases, the second phase will be implemented to allow for the reopening of certain economic sectors that do not involve large gatherings and where physical distancing can be maintained.
This will last for four weeks after the first phase has ended.
At the end of the second phase, the third phase will be similar to movement control order restrictions presently in force.
This means social activities will not be allowed while nearly all economic sectors will be subject to strict standard operating procedures plus restrictions on the number of people allowed to be physically present at workplaces.
"However, the decision to move from one phase to the next is subject to risk assessments by the Health Ministry.
"The evaluation will be made based on developments in the daily number of cases and the capacity of hospitals nationwide to treat Covid-19 patients," the PMO said.
The Finance Ministry was also said to be formulating aid packages for people and economic sectors affected by the lockdown, which will be announced soon.
In addition, the PMO said assistance will be given to the Health Ministry to increase hospital capacity and avert the collapse of Malaysia’s public healthcare system.
Over 8,000 in new cases
The PMO said the decision to implement the lockdown takes into account Malaysia's Covid-19 cases, which exceeded 8,000 cases per day for the first time today, and has claimed 2,552 lives.
The rising trend in daily case numbers has pushed hospitals nationwide to their capacity in treating Covid-19 cases.
“The presence of new (Covid-19) variants that are more aggressive with high infectivity and spread quickly has also influenced today’s decision,” the PMO said.
It said the government will also be increasing the administering of Covid-19 vaccine doses in the coming weeks in an effort to reach herd immunity against the disease.
In the meantime, it urged Malaysians to remain disciplined and follow SOPs in order to break Covid-19’s chain of infection.
“The best is to stay at home and flatten the Covid-19 infection curve together,” it said.
Separately, the Special Committee on Ensuring Access to Covid-19 Vaccine Supply (JKJAV) announced that its vaccine administration centres will continue to operate despite the total lockdown.
“Therefore, all vaccination appointments are still valid.
“Please present your vaccination appointment details or MySejahtera appointment confirmation when requested to assist the verification process conducted by authorities,” it said.