Malaysia has extended the movement and travel restrictions on Friday for another two weeks till April 28, as the nation continues its efforts to contain the spread of the coronavirus or COVID-19 which has affected the country the most in Southeast Asia.

The curbs that were imposed on March 18 were originally supposed to last till April 14. But the government reported 118 fresh cases on Friday taking its total over 4,200. "It may take a few months before we can say we are free of the virus," Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin mentioned in a televised address.

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A view of Kuala Lumpur skyline in Malaysia February. Reuters

Muhyiddin said Malaysia has done well in keeping the infection rate at 7% of patients screened, which is below the 10% benchmark set by the World Health Organisation (WHO), while its 1.6% death rate is well below the 5.8% global average. However, continued curbs are necessary to break the chain of transmission, while the government places a greater focus on groups that are the sources of infection, the prime minister said.

This may include continued suspension of schools, though some business sectors will be given limited approval to resume operations subject to strict health and movement regulations. Enforcement agencies will also tighten controls at the country's borders to clamp down on possible entry by undocumented migrants, who Muhyiddin said could end up being another source of infection.

(With agency inputs)