A year of Covid-19 in Malaysia

Azneal Ishak, Mukhriz Hazim
·5-min read
A year of Covid-19 in Malaysia
A year of Covid-19 in Malaysia

PHOTO ESSAY | A year ago today, the first cases of Covid-19 were reported in Malaysia.

News had broken that a dangerous virus was killing hundreds of people in Wuhan, China and the first reported cases on Jan 25, 2020, involved three Chinese nationals who had entered via Johor from Singapore five days earlier.

Since that time, the virus has had an impact on the whole world with nearly 100 million cases reported and a global death toll that stands at approximately 2,131,000.

Malaysia has now reported a cumulative total of 183,801 cases and 678 deaths as of Jan 24. Today there are more than 40,000 active cases in the country.

The pandemic has taken its toll with unprecedented economic lockdowns and a record low second-quarter growth of -17.1 percent.

Early into the medical crisis, the Pakatan Harapan government fell apart due to internal schisms within PKR and Bersatu leading to Muhyiddin Yassin taking over as head of a coalition with a narrow and unproven majority.

Meanwhile, all around Malaysia, heroes emerged every day as the country was plunged into a relentless battle to flatten the curve and keep the number of new cases and fatalities down.

A year on, possible relief lies in the form of vaccines that are already being implemented in other countries and will soon reach Malaysia.

But for now, the country is under lockdown and in a state of emergency that may last until Aug 1 depending on how long the pandemic continues to rage.

Today we take a pictorial look back on a year that has impacted the country like no other.

Panic buying has been an occasional feature. Here, people line up at a supermarket in Subang Jaya as they shop for essentials after the government announced the movement control order (MCO) on Mar 17, 2020.<p><br></p>
Panic buying has been an occasional feature. Here, people line up at a supermarket in Subang Jaya as they shop for essentials after the government announced the movement control order (MCO) on Mar 17, 2020.


Firefighters wearing protective suits pray before a disinfection operation at Masjid Sri Petaling on Mar 28, 2020.<p><br></p>
Firefighters wearing protective suits pray before a disinfection operation at Masjid Sri Petaling on Mar 28, 2020.


Homeless people practice social distancing on Apr 1, 2020, as they sit on their beds at a temporary shelter in KL during the MCO, which limited the activities of people in Malaysia as a preventive measure against the virus.<p><br></p>
Homeless people practice social distancing on Apr 1, 2020, as they sit on their beds at a temporary shelter in KL during the MCO, which limited the activities of people in Malaysia as a preventive measure against the virus.


Foreign workers sit in a Health Ministry van covered with plastic as they make their way to the hospital for Covid-19 screening in Kampung Baru on Apr 14, 2020.
Foreign workers sit in a Health Ministry van covered with plastic as they make their way to the hospital for Covid-19 screening in Kampung Baru on Apr 14, 2020.


The public show their support and appreciation for frontliners combating Covid-19 in Jalan Duta on Apr 15, 2020.
The public show their support and appreciation for frontliners combating Covid-19 in Jalan Duta on Apr 15, 2020.


Foreign workers perform tarawih prayers at an LRT rail as Muslims mark Ramadan while coping with the Covid-19 pandemic in Kuala Lumpur on Apr 29, 2020.
Foreign workers perform tarawih prayers at an LRT rail as Muslims mark Ramadan while coping with the Covid-19 pandemic in Kuala Lumpur on Apr 29, 2020.


The prime minister’s office illuminated with blue lights as they take part in the 'Light it Blue' campaign to show support for health workers and other frontliners on Apr 30, 2020.
The prime minister’s office illuminated with blue lights as they take part in the 'Light it Blue' campaign to show support for health workers and other frontliners on Apr 30, 2020.


Around 200 undocumented migrants were detained following an Immigration Department operation at the areas around Petaling Jaya Old Town under the enhanced MCO on May 20, 2020.
Around 200 undocumented migrants were detained following an Immigration Department operation at the areas around Petaling Jaya Old Town under the enhanced MCO on May 20, 2020.


Year Five and Six primary school students from Sekolah Kebangsaan Seksyen 6 return to school as the MCO was relaxed on Jul 15, 2020, in Shah Alam, Selangor.
Year Five and Six primary school students from Sekolah Kebangsaan Seksyen 6 return to school as the MCO was relaxed on Jul 15, 2020, in Shah Alam, Selangor.


PAS’ Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister Khairuddin Aman Razali became a focal point for unhappiness over double standards when he was given a light punishment after quarantine irregularities following a trip to Turkey. Here, he is surrounded by reporters on Aug 28, 2020.
PAS’ Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister Khairuddin Aman Razali became a focal point for unhappiness over double standards when he was given a light punishment after quarantine irregularities following a trip to Turkey. Here, he is surrounded by reporters on Aug 28, 2020.


Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin, who attempted to cultivate a paternal persona during the MCO, seen here arriving for a political meeting on Sept 1, 2020. <p><br></p>
Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin, who attempted to cultivate a paternal persona during the MCO, seen here arriving for a political meeting on Sept 1, 2020.


The Sabah state election was held in September 2020 and soon after, there was a substantial spike in Covid-19 cases and fatalities. Here Perikatan Nasional supporters are cheering after the announcement of candidates.
The Sabah state election was held in September 2020 and soon after, there was a substantial spike in Covid-19 cases and fatalities. Here Perikatan Nasional supporters are cheering after the announcement of candidates.
Opposition leader PKR president Anwar Ibrahim held a memorable press conference at Le Meridien Hotel on Sept 23, 2020, at which he declared he had the support of a 'formidable majority' of Dewan Rakyat MPs.<p><br></p>
Opposition leader PKR president Anwar Ibrahim held a memorable press conference at Le Meridien Hotel on Sept 23, 2020, at which he declared he had the support of a 'formidable majority' of Dewan Rakyat MPs.


The tourism and airline industries were badly impacted. Malaysia Airlines planes are seen parked at Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Sepang, Selangor on Oct 18, 2020.
The tourism and airline industries were badly impacted. Malaysia Airlines planes are seen parked at Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Sepang, Selangor on Oct 18, 2020.


Former pilot Azrin Mohamad Zawawi, 44 and wife Latun Noralyani Meor Aminuddin, 41, run a small 'Kapten Corner' food stall selling local food together with other family members at Boomtown USJ, Selangor on Nov 4, 2020. Captain Azrin, a former Malindo airline pilot, lost his job after he was retrenched along with 2,200 other crew and staff.
Former pilot Azrin Mohamad Zawawi, 44 and wife Latun Noralyani Meor Aminuddin, 41, run a small 'Kapten Corner' food stall selling local food together with other family members at Boomtown USJ, Selangor on Nov 4, 2020. Captain Azrin, a former Malindo airline pilot, lost his job after he was retrenched along with 2,200 other crew and staff.


Health Ministry director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah became a national figure as he provided daily updates on the progress of the pandemic. This briefing is from Nov 3, 2020. <p><br></p>
Health Ministry director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah became a national figure as he provided daily updates on the progress of the pandemic. This briefing is from Nov 3, 2020.


A doctor wearing personal protective equipment waits for patients at a drive-thru Covid-19 testing centre outside Clinic Ajwa in Shah Alam, Selangor on Dec 10, 2020.
A doctor wearing personal protective equipment waits for patients at a drive-thru Covid-19 testing centre outside Clinic Ajwa in Shah Alam, Selangor on Dec 10, 2020.


Passengers wearing protective masks on a ferry in Georgetown, Penang on Jan 4, 2021.
Passengers wearing protective masks on a ferry in Georgetown, Penang on Jan 4, 2021.


Health Minister Dr Adham Baba drew attention after a number of gaffes early on in his stint. Here he is visiting the Malaysia Agro Exposition Park Serdang (Maeps) on Jan 16, 2021.
Health Minister Dr Adham Baba drew attention after a number of gaffes early on in his stint. Here he is visiting the Malaysia Agro Exposition Park Serdang (Maeps) on Jan 16, 2021.


A patient at the Covid-19 Quarantine and Low-Risk Treatment Centre in Serdang waves to photographers through a window on Jan 16, 2021. The centre, located at the Malaysia Agro Exposition Park Serdang (Maeps) is capable of accommodating up to 10,000 beds.
A patient at the Covid-19 Quarantine and Low-Risk Treatment Centre in Serdang waves to photographers through a window on Jan 16, 2021. The centre, located at the Malaysia Agro Exposition Park Serdang (Maeps) is capable of accommodating up to 10,000 beds.


A soldier wearing a face mask stands guard at a roadblock to enforce the lockdown, amid the Covid-19 outbreak, along Jalan Ampang on Jan 18, 2021.
A soldier wearing a face mask stands guard at a roadblock to enforce the lockdown, amid the Covid-19 outbreak, along Jalan Ampang on Jan 18, 2021.