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Malaysian PM on self-quarantine after minister tests positive

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia's Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin yesterday said he would self-quarantine for 14 days after a minister who attended a high-level government meeting to discuss coronavirus developments on Saturday tested positive for Covid-19.

In a statement, Mr Muhyiddin confirmed that Religious Affairs Minister Zulkifli Mohamad Al-Bakri had tested positive, and that those identified as close contacts at Saturday's National Security Council meeting had been issued a 14-day home surveillance order starting Oct 3.

"Pursuant to that, I will undergo self-quarantine at my home for 14 days as advised by the Health Ministry," Mr Muhyiddin said.

"However, this will not interrupt government business. I will continue to work from home and use video conferencing to conduct meetings as necessary."

In an earlier statement, the Health Ministry said contact tracing had been carried out, including symptom screening and collection of swabs to detect Covid-19 infections.

In a Facebook post yesterday, Mr Zulkifli confirmed he had tested positive and that he was now undergoing treatment.

He was also in Sabah during the state's election campaign for ministerial programmes.

Malaysia has seen a steady climb in cases in the past week in the aftermath of an election in the state of Sabah in Borneo on Sept 26.

The authorities in Malaysia have warned that restrictions may have to be reimposed if the trend continues, amid popular anger towards politicians who have been blamed for the spike.

NEW RECORD

In a separate statement, Malaysia's Health Ministry reported 432 new cases yesterday, setting a new record since the country started tracking the pandemic. Its total number of cases is now 12,813.

Indonesia confirmed 3,622 new cases yesterday, taking the country's total number of infections to 307,120.

It also reported 102 deaths, and total fatalities is now at 11,253.

The Philippines yesterday reported 2,291 infections and 64 more deaths.

The Health Ministry said total confirmed cases have increased to 324,762, the highest in South-east Asia, and the number of deaths have reached 5,840. - REUTERS

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