The Southeast Asian nation had avoided the serious outbreaks seen across much of the world by imposing tough restrictions nationwide in March, when the pandemic began accelerating.
New restrictions come into force from Wednesday for at least two weeks in Kuala Lumpur, neighbouring Selangor state and the administrative capital Putrajaya, said Defence Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob.
Schools and places of worship will be closed, people will only be allowed to leave home for essential tasks like shopping, and all sports and other recreational activities will be banned, he added.
Most businesses will still be allowed to operate, as the government seeks to protect a fragile economy already struggling to recover from the earlier lockdown.
Malaysia has so far recorded over 16,000 cases and more than 150 deaths from Covid-19.
© Agence France-Presse
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