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Malaysia reports most number of Covid-19 cases in more than 3 months

Thailand also announces daily record in new coronavirus cases yesterday after clusters in two jails saw nearly 3,000 inmates infected

KUALA LUMPUR Malaysia yesterday reported its highest number of new coronavirus cases in more than three months as it deals with a fresh spike in infections.

The Health Ministry reported 4,855 new cases - the highest since Jan 31 - and 27 deaths. It has seen a total of 458,077 cases and 1,788 fatalities.

Malaysia declared a nationwide lockdown on Monday, prohibiting inter-district travel and shutting down schools. It has been under a state of emergency since January to curb the spread of the virus.

The latest spike is partly due to highly infectious variants found in recent weeks.

Earlier this week, the Health Ministry warned new daily cases could hit 5,000 by this month, a number not seen since late January.

Health director-general Noor Hisham Abdullah yesterday said Malaysia needs to persevere in its fight against the deadly disease.

"The war is still on and Health Ministry personnel are the last line of defence to break the Covid-19 chain of infection.

"Let's battle on and give it our best shot to free the country from this pandemic," he is quoted by Bernama as saying. He was visiting staff at Hospital Putrajaya during the Hari Raya Aidilfitri holidays.

On Wednesday, Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin in his Hari Raya address to the nation said the government's decision to prohibit visits during the festive season is not a cruel one, but a crucial move to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

He said in a televised address that the virus situation in the country had worsened, with hospitals severely overwhelmed.

THAILAND

Meanwhile, Thailand announced a daily record in new coronavirus cases yesterday after clusters in two jails saw nearly 3,000 inmates infected, among them a leader of anti-government protests who has been held while awaiting trial for insulting the King.

The authorities reported 32 deaths and 4,887 infections, a new daily high in cases after 2,835 prisoners were added to the tally following a mass testing of thousands of inmates in two Bangkok jails.

Thailand is suffering its biggest outbreak so far, with overall cases tripling to 93,794 and deaths increasing fivefold to 518 in the past six weeks, after a year of success in containment.

So far, only 1.3 million of its people have been inoculated against the coronavirus and the government has been rushing to secure 100 million doses of vaccines for use this year for a mass-inoculation campaign starting next month.

Thailand yesterday authorised the emergency use of the Moderna vaccine, Food and Drug Administration secretary-general Paisan Dankhum told Reuters.

It was the fourth vaccine approved following those of Sinovac, Johnson & Johnson, and AstraZeneca , which will be manufactured locally. - REUTERS, THE STAR

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