KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia recorded its highest daily death toll from COVID-19 on Wednesday (May 12), as the country entered another national lockdown amid a third wave of infections.
It reported a record 39 new COVID-19 fatalities, bringing the national death toll to 1,761.
Daily COVID-19 infections rose by 4,765, taking the total number of cases to date to 453,222.
The majority of the new cases were in the Klang Valley area – 2,082 in Selangor and 540 in Kuala Lumpur.
The Health Ministry reiterated its warning that the total number of new daily infections may exceed 5,000 by the middle of the month if the trend continues unabated.
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The victims, comprising 37 citizens and two foreigners, were aged 43 to 88, according to health director-general Noor Hisham Abdullah’s daily report. Many of them had a history of high blood pressure and diabetes.
Ten of the fatalities were in Johor and eight were in Kuala Lumpur. There were also five deaths in Selangor, three in Sabah and two each in Kedah, Sarawak, Kelantan and Pahang. The areas of Perak, Melaka, Negeri Sembilan, Terengganu and Putrajaya each recorded one death.
Since the start of the pandemic, said Dr Noor Hisham, 62 cases have been found to be of the B1351 variant from South Africa while two cases have the B16172 variant from India.
Health authorities also identified 20 new clusters, with 12 involving workplaces and five classified as "community" clusters.
To date, there have been 435 community clusters in Malaysia, with 129 of them currently active, he said.
There are 469 patients in the intensive care unit, with 244 requiring respiratory support.
"These community clusters arise from infections via family members and close contacts, celebratory events, funerals, weddings, festivities and other social activities," added Dr Noor Hisham.
Dr Noor Hisham reminded members of the public to adhere to the prevailing COVID-19 standard operating procedures, especially during the Hari Raya festivities.
About 78 per cent of those with COVID-19 are asymptomatic and this presents an infection risk if people go visiting during the festive season, he added.
Under the renewed lockdown, social gatherings and dining at restaurants are prohibited.
House visits and grave visits during the upcoming Hari Raya Aidilfitri celebrations are also banned, but Aidilfitri prayers are permitted subject to a cap of 20 to 50 people depending on the maximum capacity of the facility.