Malaysia reports 122 new COVID-19 cases, two deaths

Malaysia reports 122 new COVID-19 cases, two deaths

FILE PHOTO: Woman wearing protective mask passes by a mural at a Mass Rapid Transit station, follow
FILE PHOTO: A woman wearing protective mask passes by a mural at a Mass Rapid Transit station, following the outbreak of the coronavirus in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, March 3, 2020. REUTERS/Lim Huey Teng/File Photo

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia reported 122 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 on Sunday (May 3), taking the total to 6,298 infections.

It marks the third straight day of the case count creeping back up, just as the government prepares to ease movement restrictions.

The health ministry also reported two more deaths, raising the total number of fatalities from the outbreak to 105.

READ: COVID-19: Malaysia to open 'almost all' economic sectors from May 4 with health protocols in place, says PM Muhyiddin

READ: Malaysian economy could shrink more than earlier forecasts, says finance minister

Of the new cases, 52 were imported, said the ministry on Twitter. 

One of the patients who died was an 82-year-old man who also had high blood pressure and heart disease. 

The other patient, a 64-year-old man, had a history of diabetes, high blood pressure, as well as kidney disease. 

Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin on Friday announced that most economic sectors in the country will open from May 4, with health protocols in place. 

Businesses such as cinemas, karaoke lounges and Ramadan bazaars will remain closed, as social distancing would be difficult to enforce in activities that involve mass gatherings.

Sports activities that involve body contact and mass gatherings will not be allowed. These include football, rugby, swimming in public areas and all indoor sports. 

Outdoor activities such as badminton, tennis, cycling, golf and running in small groups with not more than 10 people will be permitted. 

READ: ‘It’s a nightmare’ - Resident quarantined in Malaysia’s COVID-19 red zone worried over access to healthcare, fresh food supplies

Malaysia's movement control order (MCO) has been in place since Mar 18 and has been extended three times until May 12

The decision to ease restrictions sparked criticism in some quarters.

Former prime minister Najib Razak, whose political party UMNO is part of the ruling coalition, said the easing of measures was "huge and sudden" and that there was no rush to reopen the economy, local media reported.

Malaysia's finance minister said on Saturday that Malaysia's economy in 2020 could shrink more than initially forecast due to the extended MCO imposed to curb COVID-19. 

Malaysia's central bank had projected in April gross domestic product (GDP) growth of between -2 per cent and 0.5 per cent this year.

The government will also announce an economic recovery plan later this month, added the minister. 

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Source: Reuters/ad(ac)

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