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Cafe owner gets five months in jail for breaching COVID-19 quarantine rules in Malaysia

The owner of a restaurant in the north of Malaysia has been jailed for five months after pleading guilty to breaching coronavirus quarantine rules.

The unnamed man “was supposed to be under home quarantine but instead went out to open his restaurant, and as a result, a few villages in Kedah and Perlis had to be locked down,” Defence Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob said during a Thursday press conference.

The Health Ministry has linked 40 coronavirus cases to the accused, who was fined 12,000 ringgit (2,860 US dollars).

The ministry reported a total of 9,129 coronavirus cases and 125 related deaths. Of those who contracted the disease, 8,821 have recovered.

After the number of cases surged in March, Malaysia imposed a strictly policed lockdown on the 18th of that month, with at least 23,000 arrests made before the lockdown ended on May 4.

Police continued to swoop on migrant worker residences during the pandemic, with 21,234 people deported since the start of the year, according to Home Affairs Minister Hamzah Zainudin.

More than 15,000 others accused of working illegally are being held in migrant detention centres ahead of deportation, Hamzah told media on Thursday.

By May 31, 410 coronavirus cases had been diagnosed in the detention centres.

An estimated 3 to 5 million migrants work in Malaysia, South-East Asia’s third-wealthiest country.

DPA