Malaysian King Sultan Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah and his wife Azizah Aminah Maimunah Iskandariah will undergo a 14-day quarantine after several palace employees were tested positive for the novel coronavirus, the national palace said on Thursday.

Abdullah and Azizah had themselves tested negative for the virus, Xinhua news agency quoted Comptroller of the Royal Household Ahmad Fadil Shamsuddin as saying in a statement. Fadil said Abdullah was advised against holding the weekly pre-cabinet meetings with Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin until the COVID-19 crisis ends.

King and Queen to undergo quarantine

Coronavirus research
The compound, shown in gray, was calculated to bind to the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein, shown in cyan, to prevent it from docking to the Human Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2, or ACE2, receptor, shown in purple. Micholas Smith/Oak Ridge National Laboratory, U.S. Dept. of Energy

"While approving of the government's extension of the movement control order to April 14, he (the king) also expressed hope that all Malaysians will be firm in facing this difficult time and continue their support and cooperation to healthcare workers and security personnel," he said. Malaysia has implemented the "movement control order" since March 18, including closing shops and schools as well as imposing travel bans.

It called for residents to stay at home in an effort to contain the pandemic. Earlier, former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said via social media that he had been observing a 14-day quarantine after contact with a MP who was later tested positive for the disease. Local media reports that the 94-year-old former leader had been cleared by health authorities after testing negative. Malaysia has so far reported 1,796 cases with 21 deaths.