130 new COVID-19 cases in Malaysia, death toll rises to 26

130 new COVID-19 cases in Malaysia, death toll rises to 26

A man wears a handmade face mask in Malaysia
A man wears a handmade face mask during the movement control order, limiting the activities of people in Malaysia, Mar 25, 2020. (Photo: AFP/Mohd Rasfan)

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia reported 130 new COVID-19 cases on Friday (Mar 27), bringing the country's total to 2,161.

“A total of 54 positive cases are being treated in the intensive care unit, of which 34 are in need of ventilators,” Health Director-General Noor Hisham Abdullah said.

He added that 44 more patients have been discharged on Friday, taking the total number of recoveries to 259.

Earlier, Dr Noor Hisham had announced the death of a 35-year old man, who has a travel history to Indonesia.

At the press conference, he announced the death of two more patients, bringing the country's COVID-19 death tally to 26.

The two deceased patients are an 83-year old man with a history of chronic illness and a 53-year old man who has had close contact with Case 1,309.

READ: Malaysia unveils RM250 billion economic stimulus package as COVID-19 cases surge

On two areas in Kluang, Johor, currently under the Enhanced Movement Control Order (MCO), Dr Noor Hisham said there are four different clusters, all of which related to the mass religious gathering which took place from Feb 27 to Mar 1 in Kuala Lumpur.

“They have attended prayers and weddings and infected people in the area,” he said, adding that there are 88 positive cases in Kluang.

He explained that 74 of the 88 cases were from Kampung Dato Ibrahim Majid and Bandar Baru Dato Ibrahim Majid.

The Enhanced MCO which was enforced yesterday would take place until Apr 9 and affect about 3,500 people.

READ: Missing the little things - What life is like under Malaysia’s movement control order

On the mass religious gathering attended by over 16,000 people, Dr Noor Hisham said 13,762 have been checked and 12,317 were tested for COVID-19.

Of the total, there were 1,137 positive cases, while the test results for 4,500 more are pending.

Malaysia still has the highest number of COVID-19 cases in Southeast Asia.

TRIAL OF REMDESIVIR IN MALAYSIA

Dr Noor Hisham also said that Malaysia has been chosen by the World Health Organization (WHO) for a trial on the use of antiviral drug remdesivir to treat COVID-19 patients. 

“We will be focusing the tests at Sungai Buloh Hospital and all other hospitals that have been identified as COVID-19 hospitals," he said. 

He explained that one of the criteria that led Malaysia to be chosen was an effective clinical research system with a well-trained team of researchers. 

Dr Noor Hisham also added that further discussions on the matter would take place with WHO on Friday night.

15 AREAS IN MALAYSIA ARE RED ZONES

In a separate update, the Health Ministry said areas with more than 41 cases will be designated as "red zones", while areas with between 20 and 40 cases will fall under the category of "orange zone". 

Explore: Interactive map of all the confirmed cases reported around the world

As of 1.45pm on Friday, a total of 15 areas have been designated as red zones.

These areas include Petaling Jaya and Hulu Langat in the state of Selangor, with 176 and 186 cases respectively. 

Johor Bahru and Kluang have also been categorised as red zones. 

"Those living in red zone are strongly advised to increase preventive measures," the ministry added. 

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Source: CNA/zl(tx)

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