Malaysia’s king and queen are under quarantine after seven palace staff members tested positive for coronavirus.
King Sultan Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah and his wife Tunku Azizah Aminah Maimunah Iskandariah have both tested negative for the infection, but will isolate for 14 days out of an abundance of caution the palace said.
Meanwhile the infected staff have been taken to hospital as officials try to work out the source of the infection. The palace is also being disinfected.
Malaysia has more than 2,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus with 235 reported on Thursday, making it the hardest-hit country in Southeast Asia.
Some 21 people have died from the disease.
The majority of the country’s infections have been linked back to an Islamic conference that happened at the Sri Petaling mosque back in February.
The event was attended by around 20,000 people, three quarters of whom were from Malaysia.
Other attendees were from Bangladesh, Brunei, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand, and went on to spread the infection in their own home countries.
Last week Malaysia entered full lockdown to try to slow the spread of the virus, with people banned from leaving homes except for urgent needs.
Schools were shut, all but essential businesses closed, while foreign visitors were banned from coming into the country and Malaysian barred from leaving.
Police were initially tasked with keeping the lockdown in place, but soldiers were brought in after people began flouting the rules.
The measures were expected to last until the end of March, but were extended Wednesday until mid-April.
More than a third of the world’s population – or 3billion people – are now thought to be under some kind of lockdown to help slow the spread of the virus.
India enacted the most widespread shutdown this week when it ordered all of its 1.3billion people to remain at home and only venture outside for emergencies.
China also locked down some 760million people as the virus spread, but is now starting to ease restrictions as new infections subside.
Globally, infections have topped 450,000 while deaths have topped 20,000 – with the World Health Organisation warning that we have not yet reached the peak.
Coronavirus first emerged in China towards the end of last year, before sweeping East to West across the globe.
Europe and the US are now the new epicentres of the virus, with more combined infections than anywhere else including China.
Italy alone, the hardest-hit western nation, has recorded more than 7,500 deaths – more than the whole of China.