PUTRAJAYA: Malaysia reported 4,519 new COVID-19 cases in the past 24 hours on Saturday (May 8), the second consecutive day that daily infections have crossed the 4,000 mark.
Selangor recorded the highest number of new cases with 1,722 infections, followed by Kuala Lumpur with 557 and Sarawak with 479.
This brings Malaysia's cumulative total to 436,944 cases, said health director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah.
There were 25 more deaths from COVID-19, bring the total fatalities to 1,657.
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Dr Noor Hisham said the rise in COVID-19 cases is worrying, adding that the health ministry is concerned the situation in India could occur in Malaysia if drastic action is not taken quickly.
"According to the current Rt value of 1.1 projection, it is estimated that daily cases would reach 5,000 in two to three weeks," he said, referring to the effective reproduction number that indicates how fast the disease is spreading.
The health ministry is looking at expanding hospital capacity to deal with COVID-19 cases, he added.
NO NATIONWIDE MCO
Amid the rising number of cases, Malaysia has put in place tighter measures in parts of the country.
Kuala Lumpur is under a movement control order (MCO) from Friday to May 20. Several districts in Selangor and Johor have also been placed under renewed MCO restrictions.
There are no plans, however, to implement a nationwide MCO, said Senior Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob on Saturday. The government will instead proceed with targeted movement restrictions.
A targeted MCO can be enforced according to the "hotspots identification for dynamic engagement" (HIDE) system that indicates specific areas with large COVID-19 outbreaks, he said.
"If there is a hotspot area, we will enforce an MCO according to the village, subdistrict or district that has a large number of outbreak cases, with the smallest scale (of the MCO) that will be implemented being the enhanced movement control order (EMCO), but it will still be done in a targeted manner," said Mr Ismail Sabri.
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"However, various possibilities can occur because according to data from the Ministry of Health if there is no intervention from the government, cases can reach up to more than 5,000 after the (Aidilfitri) celebration and can rise to 10,000 cases in July and August," he said.