Malaysia reports 235 new COVID-19 cases, death toll rises to 23

Malaysia reports 235 new COVID-19 cases, death toll rises to 23

Health workers in protective suits work in a tent erected to test for coronavirus at a clinic in Ku
Health workers in protective suits work in a tent erected to test for coronavirus at a clinic, during the movement control order in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Mar 23, 2020. (Photo: Reuters/Lim Huey Teng)

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia on Thursday (Mar 26) reported 235 new COVID-19 cases in its biggest daily jump, taking the national total to 2,031 - the highest in Southeast Asia. 

The health ministry also said the country's death toll increased to 23, as of 5pm on Thursday.

Health director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said based on initial investigations, 60 of the new positive cases were linked to the cluster associated with a religious gathering at the Sri Petaling mosque. 

“The remaining 175 cases were still being investigated and are probably linked to other clusters,” he added.

The tabligh (religious) event, which took place from Feb 27 to Mar 1, was attended by 16,000 people. It has also led to infections in neighbouring countries including Brunei, Singapore and Cambodia.

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Investigations into the remaining 175 new cases are still ongoing and they may be linked to other clusters, the ministry added.

The health ministry said 45 patients are currently in the intensive care unit, of which 32 required ventilation support.

Malaysia's total number of cases has now doubled in a week. On Wednesday, the government extended curbs on travel and movement to until Apr 14 to contain the spread of the virus.  

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

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The 22nd death, known as Case 1,797, is a 48-year-old Malaysian man who had a history of chronic illness. He had attended the religious gathering at the Sri Petaling mosque, and was a close contact of another COVID-19 case. 

The 23rd death, known as Case 1,840, is a 62-year-old Malaysian man who also had a history of chronic illness. Investigations into any potential links to other clusters are still underway. 

Sixteen patients have recently been discharged, bringing the total number of recovered cases to 215.

As of Thursday, the state of Selangor had the most amount of cases with 435 infections, followed by the federal territory of Kuala Lumpur with 270. Sabah and Johor have 170 and 196 cases respectively. 

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Source: Agencies/zl(mi)

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