INTERACTIVE: Here’s how Covid-19 changed the movement of people in Malaysia

  • Nation
  • Friday, 01 Jan 2021

Local artist Afiq Hamidon paying tribute to the sacrifices of frontliners in fighting the pandemic via a mural on a building at Jalan Leong Sin Nam, Ipoh.(Dec 16, 2020) — RONNIE CHIN/The Star

PETALING JAYA: Ever since the start of the conditional movement control order (MCO) in May 2020, the amount of time Malaysians spent at home has mostly been on a downward trend even as Covid-19 cases soared in the past few months.

This is one of the insights from Oxford University’s Our World in Data portal (, which analysed a report from Google that has been tracking the movement of people in more than 130 countries since the pandemic began.

Google’s Covid-19 Community Mobility Report records changes in the number of visitors each day to various types of locations such as workplaces, retail and recreation outlets.

The report, based on data Google collects from users who have their location history setting turned on, also measures the change in the amount of time people spend at home each day.

The daily changes are compared to a baseline figure before the pandemic outbreak, which is the median value over the five‑week period from Jan 3 to Feb 6, 2020.

Charts created by Our World in Data based on the Google report shows how the movement of people including in Malaysia changed throughout the pandemic.

Here’s what the charts say:

The report basically shows that the number of visitors to workplaces, retail, recreation and other locations went down since Covid-19 started, while time spent at home went up.

This is possibly largely due to the various movement control orders that were imposed, which limited our movement in a bid to help break Covid-19’s chain of transmission, that is, to "flatten the curve".

It is worth noting though that from Dec 7, restrictions on inter-district and inter-state travel were lifted, with the exception of areas under the enhanced MCO.

The following is a closer look at how much more mobile Malaysians have been since Dec 7, relative to the report’s baseline period:

Local differences in each country will affect their respective data in the report, so direct comparisons between countries are not a good idea.

However, there does appear to be some similarities in the general trend for many countries.

Here’s a look at Asean countries:
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