COVID-19 Health Alert – U.S. Embassy Kuala Lumpur (March 26, 2020)

Health Alert –  U.S. Embassy Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (March 26, 2020)

Location:  Malaysia

Event:  COVID-19

As of March 25, 2020, the Malaysian Ministry of Health has confirmed 1,796 cases of COVID-19 in the country.  Among these, 19 individuals have died, 45 are in the ICU, and 199 have fully recovered.  Thirty-four percent of hospital beds are in use throughout Malaysia (this figure likely includes those in use for all patients, not just COVID-19 patients).  The government has conducted 18,416 tests with 4,822 tests still pending.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued a Level 3 – Avoid Non-Essential Travel – Notice for Malaysia.  The State Department has issued a Global Level 4 Health Advisory – Do Not Travel.

The Department of State advises U.S. citizens to avoid all international travel due to the global impact of COVID-19.  In countries where commercial departure options remain available, U.S. citizens who live in the United States should arrange for immediate return to the United States, unless they are prepared to remain abroad for an indefinite period.  U.S. citizens who live abroad should avoid all international travel.

Countries around the world are experiencing COVID-19 outbreaks and implementing travel restrictions and mandatory quarantines, closing borders, and prohibiting non-citizens from entry with little advance notice.  Any U.S. citizen returning home should be prepared for additional travel restrictions to be put into effect with little or no advance notice.  Travelers should closely monitor the situation in Malaysia and other transit countries before travel.

As of 5:00pm on March 26, 2020, very limited commercial flights remain an option for U.S. citizens wishing to depart Malaysia, however, many airlines have cancelled international flights and several transit countries have set up new quarantine restrictions or have barred international transit altogether.  The Embassy is aware of commercial flights from Kuala Lumpur to the U.S. through both Japan and Dubai.  Please note that flight schedules are likely to change with little advance notice and commercial flight options will likely become increasingly limited over the coming days.

On March 25, 2020, the Malaysian government announced that the Movement Control Order (MCO), first announced on March 16, will be extended until April 14, though this end date may be extended again at the discretion of the Malaysian government.  All foreign nationals, with very limited exceptions, are restricted from entry or transit through Malaysia during this time.  The MCO prohibits all individuals – Malaysian citizens and foreign nationals – from movement and mass assembly within Malaysia.  All houses of worship and business premises will remain closed, except for supermarkets, public markets, grocery stores and stores, department stores selling everyday necessities.  All schools and universities, both private and public, will also be closed.  All government and private services except those involved in essential services such as water, electricity, power, telecommunications, postal, transportation, fuel, finance, banking, health, pharmacy, fire, port, airport, security, retail and food supply will also be closed.

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