661 People Arrested in Malaysia For Breaking Pandemic Rule

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A total of 661 people were arrested in Malaysia on Sunday for breaking rules aimed at curbing the spread of the novel coronavirus, Defence Minister Ismail Yaakob said on Monday.

The minister said this during a news conference in Bangkok.

According to the official, the offenses include businesses not recording customer contact details for tracing purposes, breaches of mask-wearing and social distancing requirements, and “activities in pubs and nightclubs”.

He said  577 arrests were made for attending illicitly reopened bars and clubs.

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Since the end of Malaysia’s seven-week coronavirus-induced lockdown in May, there have been dozens to hundreds of daily arrests over breaches of the remaining measures.

At least 23,000 arrests were made during the lockdown, which saw police checkpoints reinforced by soldiers.

Most businesses have now been allowed to reopen to reinvigorate the economy, but pubs and nightclubs remain shut.

The border is also to remain closed to visitors until Dec. 31 at the earliest.

Manufacturing and plantation businesses reliant on migrant labor have complained of a recruitment freeze caused by the restrictions.

Tourism, which accounted for 15 percent of the gross domestic product in 2019, has also been hit.

The government is promoting internal travel in a bid to make up for the ban on most foreign arrivals.

Malaysia has officially reported about 11,000 coronavirus cases and 134 related deaths.

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