KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia on Saturday (Jan 16) reported a record high of 4,029 new COVID-19 cases and eight more deaths.
Apart from eight imported cases, the rest are local transmissions, said health director-general Noor Hisham Abdullah.
This takes the total number of infections nationwide to 155,095. The death toll from COVID-19 stands at 594.
Dr Noor Hisham said Selangor continued to record the highest number of daily infections, with 1,466 cases, followed by Johor (719 cases) and Sabah (449 cases).
A total of 205 patients are being treated in the intensive care unit, with 79 of them intubated, he added.
Commentary: Frustrated with tightened COVID-19 restrictions, Johor residents hope this MCO is the last
The update of the coronavirus situation comes as Malaysia mourns the death of former lord president Mohamed Salleh Abas, who headed Malaysia’s Supreme Court from 1984 to 1988. The role of lord president was renamed chief justice in 1994.
Dr Mohamed Salleh had tested positive for COVID-19 days earlier, Bernama reported, and died of pneumonia on Saturday morning at the age of 91.
CASES CONTINUE TO SPIKE
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, breaking its record for new cases three times this week alone.
Malaysia's king Al-Sultan Abdullah declared a state of emergency across the country on Tuesday, a day after the prime minister announced that five states, including Penang, Selangor, Melaka, Johor and Sabah, and the federal territories of Kuala Lumpur, Putrajaya and Labuan would come under a Movement Control Order (MCO).
The northern state of Kelantan was placed under MCO restrictions on Friday, bringing the total number of affected states to six.
Sarawak is also enforcing an MCO in the Sibu division, in a decision authorities took following a spike in new infections over the last several days. Sarawak reported 180 new cases on Thursday, a record daily increase for the state. The MCO will be implemented from Jan 16 to 29.
A ban on interstate travel is in force across the country until Jan 26 in an effort to curb the spread of the virus.
In a tweet on Thursday, Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation Khairy Jamaluddin said Malaysia expects to receive its first shipment of vaccines next month. One million doses are due to arrive in the first quarter of this year, while 1.7 million, 5.8 million and 4.3 million will arrive in the second, third and fourth quarters, Mr Khairy said.
The authorities plan to vaccinate “the most high-risk groups … frontline staff of the security and health sectors”, he said, followed by the elderly and “other adult populations to create herd immunity”.
“If you are a healthy adult under the age of 60 and not a frontline worker, the earliest (you can expect) to receive the vaccine would be in the third quarter of the year,” he added.