KUALA LUMPUR, May 22 — Putrajaya announced today new and tighter restrictions on social movement and economic sectors in redoubled efforts to cut the spread of Covid-19, as the latest cases push infections past the 500,000 threshold.

Businesses will be allowed to operate only 12 hours a day, from 8am to 8pm, starting next Tuesday, Senior Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said in a joint press conference with Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah aired over national TV.

Ismail Sabri also said 80 per cent of civil servants will be required to work from home in the new norm while it will be 40 per cent for the private sector. Those working in offices will see their hours reduced as well.

“Two strategies for us is to reduce movement, one is to reduce the number of those working in offices, whether civil or private and secondly is to limit the operating hours of businesses.

“To reduce further movement, 80 per cent of the civil workforce will be working from home, involving some 750,000 employees. The additional details will be issued by the Chief Secretary to the government. 

“For the private sector, it will be 40 per cent, involving some 6.1 million employees,’’ he said.

Ismail also reminded private sector employers and business operators to make it compulsory to check the MySejahtera status of their employees and customers before they enter their respective premises as a means to curb Covid-19.

Public transport services will have to halve their capacity similar to the previous movement control order (MCO), the minister said, adding that mass transport vehicles like buses and trains will also see the reduced frequency as well.

Ismail added that this restriction is an add-on towards the MCO restrictions that came into force on May 12.

Ismail also briefly explained that certain businesses such as laundromats, grocery stores, veterinarians, petrol stations (except those operating along the highways) will be operating from 8am to 8pm.

However, Ismail said pharmacies are allowed to operate up till 10pm. 

Businesses can get further clarification on the new SOPs and operating hours by checking their respective ministry’s websites or visit the official website of the National Security Council.

The new restrictions will take effect next Tuesday (May 25) for the whole of peninsular Malaysia and Labuan.