Malaysia reports record 3,309 new COVID-19 cases ahead of renewed movement curbs

Asia

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia reported a record 3,309 new COVID-19 cases on Tuesday (Jan 12), its biggest daily rise since the start of the pandemic.

The surge in cases comes less than a week after Malaysia marked its previous daily case record of 3,027 infections on Jan 7. 

Malaysia has reported four-digit daily increases in COVID-19 cases for about a month as it struggles to contain its third wave of infections.

The Klang Valley, comprising Selangor and Kuala Lumpur, accounted for about a third of the new cases reported on Tuesday with 1,333 infections. Johor and Sabah registered 442 and 409 cases respectively.

READ: What you need to know about the state of emergency and tightening COVID-19 curbs in Malaysia

There were also four new fatalities. The victims, Malaysian citizens aged 52 to 69, were from Selangor and Ipoh.

A total of 190 cases are currently warded in the intensive care unit (ICU) with 83 requiring respiratory support, said health director-general Noor Hisham Abdullah.


A medical personnel wearing a protective suit

A medical personnel wearing a protective suit waits at the COVID-19 drive-thru test centre outside the Ajwa Private Clinic in Shah Alam on the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur on Jan 12, 2021. (Photo: AFP/Mohd Rasfan)

He added that authorities have also identified 11 new clusters – bringing the number of active clusters in the country to 261.

Malaysia will tighten COVID-19 restrictions from Wednesday, in a renewed effort to combat the country’s alarming rise of COVID-19 cases.

READ: No parliamentary sitting or election during COVID-19 state of emergency: Malaysian PM Muhyiddin

Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin said the states of Penang, Selangor, Melaka, Johor and Sabah, as well as the federal territories of Kuala Lumpur, Putrajaya and Labuan will be placed under movement control order (MCO) once again.

Under the restrictions, which will last for two weeks until Jan 26, interstate travel is banned across the country while travelling between districts is not allowed for the states under MCO.


A medical personnel wearing a protective suit

A medical personnel wearing a protective suit conducts a COVID-19 test on person at a drive-thru test centre outside the Ajwa Private Clinic in Shah Alam on the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur on Jan 12, 2021. (Photo: AFP/Mohd Rasfan)

The Malaysian king on Tuesday also declared a state of emergency across the country to curb the spread of COVID-19.

The emergency will last until Aug 1 or earlier depending on the state of coronavirus infections, palace comptroller Ahmad Fadil Shamsuddin said in statement.

READ: Another Malaysian minister tests positive for COVID-19, second case in Cabinet within 3 days

The palace statement said 15 hospitals handling COVID-19 cases have recorded a non-ICU bed usage rate of more than 70 per cent.

“In the Klang Valley, the use of ICU beds for COVID-19 patients in Kuala Lumpur Hospital and the University of Malaya Medical Center has reached 100 per cent, while in Sungai Buloh Hospital 83 per cent. The rate of use of ICU beds for COVID-19 patients in Perak, Selangor, Melaka, Terengganu and Sarawak has exceeded 70 per cent,” it added.

As of Tuesday, Malaysia has reported a total of 141,533 COVID-19 cases, of which 30,390 are currently classified as active or infectious. The country has also recorded a total of 559 deaths to date.

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