Malaysia's king declares COVID emergency

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Malaysia's King Al-Sultan Abdullah has declared a state of emergency across the country to curb the spread of COVID-19.

The emergency will last until August 1 or earlier depending on the state of coronavirus infections.

"Al-Sultan Abdullah is of the opinion that the spread of COVID-19 is at a critical stage and that there is a need to declare a proclamation of emergency," the palace said on Tuesday.

Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin requested the emergency as a proactive measure to curb the number of infections, it said.

On Monday, Muhyiddin announced a nationwide travel ban and a 14-day lockdown in the capital Kuala Lumpur and five states, saying the country's healthcare system was at breaking point.

The number of new daily infections hit a record high last week, breaching the 3000 mark for the first time. Total coronavirus cases passed 138,000 on Monday, with 555 deaths.