'Prepare for the worst’: Record 7,289 new COVID-19 cases in Malaysia as hospital ICUs struggle with surge

'Prepare for the worst’: Record 7,289 new COVID-19 cases in Malaysia as hospital ICUs struggle with surge

The coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Kuala Lumpur
A medical worker at a COVID-19 testing centre in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on Feb 16, 2021. (Photo: Reuters/Lim Huey Teng)

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia on Tuesday (May 25) reported a record 7,289 new COVID-19 cases, the highest number of new daily infections in the country since the start of the pandemic.

This is also the first time the number of new cases has breached the 7,000 mark. Malaysia’s previous daily record was two days ago, when it reported 6,976 new infections.

The country has logged more than 6,000 new cases daily for seven consecutive days as it struggles to contain a third wave of COVID-19. 

The surge has left hospitals low on intensive care unit (ICU) beds with health authorities repeatedly warning about surging ICU occupancy rates and strained medical staff members. 

The Klang Valley area accounted for more than a third of the new cases: Selangor had 2,642 while Kuala Lumpur reported 604. Neighbouring states Negeri Sembilan and Pahang had 410 and 211 respectively.

Johor reported 664 new cases while Penang had 380. 

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Medical workers at a quarantine centre
Medical personnel at a quarantine centre at the Malaysia Agro Exposition Park in Serdang, as seen in this photo published on May 20, 2021. (Photo: Twitter/KKMPutrajaya)

There were also 60 more COVID-19 deaths, a day after Malaysia logged a daily record 61 fatalities

The victims comprise 59 citizens and one foreigner, aged three to 93. The youngest fatality, a girl from Sabah, also suffered from leukaemia.

Many of the others had a medical history of high blood pressure and diabetes. Four of them were only taken to hospital after they had died, the health ministry said in its daily report. 

The national death toll now stands at 2,369. 

A total of 726 patients are in the intensive care unit, another record figure. Of these, 373 require respiratory support. 

Fifteen more clusters were also identified, taking the total number of active clusters in the country to 577. 

Health director-general Noor Hisham Abdullah warned that Malaysia’s daily COVID-19 cases are following an “exponential trend”.

“The rise of cases started from Apr 1, 2021 and could trigger a vertical surge. We need to prepare for the worst,” he said in a tweet on Tuesday afternoon.

He also urged members of the public to stay home in order to break the chain of infection.

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Malaysia COVID-19 cases chart May 25, 2021
Number of COVID-19 cases in Malaysia from Apr 1, 2021 to May 23, 2021. (Image: Twitter/Noor Hisham Abdullah)

“Neglecting the facts and data is not coming to help or giving all excuses not to stay at home,” he said.

As of Tuesday, Malaysia has reported a total of 525,889 COVID-19 cases, of which 63,458 cases currently active or infectious.

This nearly five-fold increase in new COVID-19 cases since the start of the year makes Malaysia the third worst-hit country in Southeast Asia after Indonesia and the Philippines.

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Source: CNA/AP/zl

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