PHL envoy explains situation in Malaysia as total lockdown starts

Assures affected Filipinos in Malaysia that PHL embassy remains open to assist them


(Eagle News) — Philippine Ambassador to Malaysia Charles Jose explains the situation there as the country starts a two-week total lockdown on Tuesday, June 1, to address rising COVID-19 cases nationwide.

In an interview with ASEAN in Focus on Tuesday, Ambassador Jose said that there has been a recent spike in COVID-19 cases in Malaysia with the highest recorded at 9,000 cases in a single day.

Pati bilang ng mga namamatay, close to 100 in a single day,” he said.

Ambassador Jose said that the Philippine embassy in Malaysia is always ready to help Filipinos in Malaysia.

Handa kaming mag-extend ng ating services para sa mga kababayan natin na maaari pa ring makapag-travel at makapunta sa ating embassy,” he said in the interview.

Sa mga makakapunta rito, bukas po kami. Nakatanggap po kami ng abiso sa foreign ministry. Of course, they’re encouraging non-essential personnel to work from home,” he said.

Jose said that for offices that remain open, only 20 percent of the work force is allowed for essential services.

He said that there would be Filipinos to be affected by the total lockdown, particularly in the services and tourism sector such as those working in hotels.

Patuloy tayong magbibigay ng assistance sa abot ng ating makakaya,” Ambassador Jose said.

Filipinos in Malaysia are about 900,000, the ambassador said.

He said that this total lockdown in Malaysia is similar to the one imposed in March last year.

Malaysia is among the worst hit. Of almost 2,800 deaths from Covid-19 recorded in the country of 32 million since the start of the pandemic, over 40 percent were in May alone.

More than 570,000 infections have been reported, with a string of new daily records last week.

As well as variants, the outbreak has been fanned by gatherings in the Muslim-majority country during the month of Ramadan and the Eid al-Fitr holiday, often in defiance of coronavirus rules.

Under what authorities have termed a “total lockdown” in force from Tuesday, only essential businesses — such as supermarkets and medical clinics — can operate, people can only go outside for necessities, and most schools are closed.

(Eagle News Service with a report from Agence France Presse)