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Malaysia reports biggest daily rise of 3,027 Covid-19 cases

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia reported its biggest daily rise in coronavirus cases yesterday.

The Health Ministry reported a record 3,027 infections, raising the total to 128,465 cases, including 521 deaths.

The ministry projects that infections will rise to 5,000 cases a day by April if the reproduction number used to measure the virus' spread, known as the R0, remains at 1.1, director-general of Health Noor Hisham Abdullah said.

An increase in the R0 value to 1.2 would see cases rising by 8,000 daily by the third week of March, he said.

"We need to reduce the infectivity rate... to 0.5 to stop and curb local transmission," he said.

INDEX FALLING

A jump in infections has spooked investors, with the Kuala Lumpur stock index falling as much as 1.2 per cent yesterday, a day after the authorities said the rise in cases was straining the health system.

The government was considering targeted lockdowns in parts of the country in response, Mr Noor Hisham had said on Wednesday.

The Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers said it supported a partial lockdown, but that wider restrictions could cripple businesses already impacted by the pandemic.

"Should a second total lockdown be instituted, there is grave fear over the collapse of the business sectors and economy given that several major states are the hub and heart of the country's economic activities," the group's president Soh Thian Lai said.

A lockdown of four weeks or more would reduce business sustainability to one to three months, Mr Soh said.

Indonesia also reported a new daily high yesterday with 9,321 infections, bringing its total cases to 797,723, data from its Covid-19 task force showed.

It was the second consecutive day of reporting record infections.

Yesterday's data showed 224 people died due to the virus, bringing total fatalities to 23,520.

Thailand yesterday reported 305 new infections and one new death, bringing its total to 9,636 cases and 67 fatalities since it first detected the virus early last year.

The new infections included three cases imported from abroad and found in quarantine, the government's Covid-19 task force said at a news briefing. - REUTERS

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