World

Malaysia reports record 871 coronavirus cases

Official says uptick in numbers is down to a rush to clear backlog of patients awaiting test results

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia reported a record 871 coronavirus cases yesterday, raising total infections to 20,498.

Most of the cases were in Sabah (702) , followed by Selangor (72), and Penang (45).

Malaysia, which imposed targeted lockdowns this month as infections surged, also recorded seven new deaths, bringing the toll to 187. The last time Malaysia saw the same number of deaths was on March 29, the Malay Mail reported.

Health Director-General Noor Hisham Abdullah said a factor in the uptick in numbers is the rush to clear the backlog of patients awaiting Covid-19 results.

"We did initially have the backlog, but now we have cleared (it), that's the reason for the sudden increase of cases," he said.

Dr Noor Hisham said the infection rate has dropped since a third wave of infections in the country began four weeks ago.

"We expect this third wave of infections to be more challenging. Although we are more prepared in terms of medical equipment, manpower and others, what is important is that we need to control (the spread) so that the infections in the community can be reduced," he said.

He warned that infections could rise exponentially if people do not heed the curbs and keep the infection rate down.

Meanwhile, Indonesia reported 4,105 cases yesterday, taking its total to 361,867.

There were 80 more deaths, taking the country's total to 12,511.

Both the total figures are the highest in the region.

The Philippines reported 2,379 cases and 50 deaths, bringing its total to 356,618 infections and 6,652 fatalities.

In Australia, Victoria state, the epicentre of the country's coronavirus outbreak, will see more freedom of movement as of today after months-long restrictions, but retailers and restaurants must wait longer.

After more than 100 days in a strict lockdown that allowed for only two hours of outdoor activity a day, the 5 million people living in Melbourne, Victoria's capital, will be able to spend as much time exercising outdoors as they wish.

However, people must stay within 25km of their homes, Premier Daniel Andrews said.

Public gatherings will remain tightly limited, and retailers and restaurants must operate only on take-away or delivery orders, with the state government eyeing their reopening by Nov 1. - REUTERS, THE STAR

WORLD