KUALA LUMPUR, May 28 — The National Security Council has decided to put Malaysia into a “total lockdown” from June 1 until 14, during which all social and economic activities are prohibited, the Prime Minister’s Office announced today.

During the two-week period, only essential economic and service sectors may operate, with the NSC to list these later.

The PMO said the decision was necessitated by Malaysia’s deteriorating Covid-19 situation.

“If this Phase One lockdown succeeds in reducing daily Covid-19 cases, the government will proceed to Phase Two that will allow the reopening of economic sectors that do not involve mass gatherings and where physical distancing can be maintained,” the PMO said in a statement.

Phase Two, when it begins, will run for four weeks before the country enters into the Phase Three, which would be a return to the current movement control order (MCO) where almost all economic sectors may operate with restrictions but not social activities.

The PMO said the decision to move between phases would depend on the Health Ministry’s risk assessment based on new Covid-19 cases and the ability of the country’s public health system to treat the infected.

“Following the government’s decision to initiate a full closure of the economic sector and social activities, the Finance Ministry will draw up an assistance package for Malaysians and the economic sectors affected,” the PMO said

The aid package will be announced soon.

It went on to assure Malaysians that every effort would be made to avoid a collapse of the country’s health system and to accelerate the ongoing vaccination programme.

The PMO concluded with a plea for Malaysians to adhere to the standard operating procedures to avoid Covid-19 infection and to stay at home when possible.

Despite the nationwide MCO in place now, Covid-19 has continued to infect and kill Malaysians at an unprecedented rate.

Today, Malaysia added another 8,290 more Covid-19 patients to reach an active case total of 72,823. Both are record highs.

Also today, another 61 Covid-19 patients were reported to have died, pushing the death toll for May alone to 1,046 people. For perspective, the figure is almost equal to all Covid-19 deaths from January, February, March and April combined.