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Malaysia, Indonesia and Hong Kong see spike in coronavirus cases

Malaysia hits record daily high and Indonesia passes 500,000 total cases

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia, Indonesia and Hong Kong all saw worrying spikes in coronavirus cases yesterday.

Malaysia had 1,884 infections, a new record high, taking the total to 56,659 cases.

Previously, the most number of daily cases recorded was 1,755 on Nov 6.

The spike in cases is mainly attributed to a cluster linked to workers at a Top Glove factory in Selangor, authorities said.

The cluster alone saw a rise of 1,067 new cases yesterday.

Top Glove, the world's biggest manufacturer of surgical gloves, will close over half of its 41 factories in Malaysia, authorities said yesterday.

Over 2,000 employees have been infected so far.

Much of its workforce are migrant workers who live in dorms.

Indonesia also reached a grim milestone yesterday in surpassing more than half a million cases, as average daily infections hit a record and hospitals in the country's most populated province edged closer to capacity.

Indonesia now has 502,110 infections and 16,002 deaths, the highest number in South-east Asia.

Health experts say shortfalls in testing and contact tracing and a consistently high positivity rate - the infection rate per person tested - indicate the real numbers are likely to be higher.

ANOTHER RECORD

There were more troubling trends in yesterday's data, with the seven-day average of infections hitting a record 4,495 and the positivity rate at over 16 per cent for three successive days.

In Bandung, the capital of West Java, a province of almost 50 million people, occupancy at 27 referral hospitals was 88.8 per cent yesterday, city secretary Ema Surmana told Reuters, with 698 of the 786 beds for coronavirus patients taken.

Meanwhile, Hong Kong reported 73 new cases yesterday as the government warned that the epidemic in the densely populated city is rapidly worsening, with silent transmission chains feared amid a rise in asymptomatic infections.

Many of the cases are linked to dance clubs, and the government has appealed to residents in affected areas to take a Covid-19 test to help contain the outbreak.

Mobile testing stations have been set up in several districts.

"The local epidemic situation is worsening rapidly," the government said. "Some of the confirmed cases are asymptomatic, and this has indicated the existence of many silent transmission chains in the community." - THE STAR, REUTERS, AFP

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