IT was unprecedented; never before had there been something like it in Malaysia.
But so was the Covid-19 pandemic, which led to a lockdown in many parts of the world. Likewise, the Malaysian government declared a movement control order (MCO) that was to be enforced on the entire country from March 18,2020, in a move to contain the virus.
There were 790 Covid-19 cases recorded on March 18.
In the first announcement of the MCO, the movement restriction was to last two weeks from March 18 to March 31.
Under the first stage of the MCO, schools and most shops except those selling groceries and basic necessities were ordered to close.
Only a limited number of people from each household were allowed to leave the house to get essentials.
The MCO was subsequently extended as the cases did not taper off. The Sri Petaling cluster led to a number of infections.
It was not until May 4 when the government eased the restrictions; Malaysia then entered the conditional MCO phase in which some restrictions were eased.
On June 10, the recovery MCO began as Malaysia saw a decrease in Covid-19 cases.
Border control, however, remained. Only citizens or foreigners with special reasons were allowed to enter the country.
The government made it compulsory for people to wear face masks from Aug 1.
Those who flout the rule were slapped with a RM1,000 fine.
Early October, just as the Malaysian public started to embrace the new normal, a “third wave” of the Covid-19 pandemic swept the country.
Movement restrictions were introduced again in different forms in the various states.