World

Malaysia’s daily infections hit record high with 235 cases

Defence Minister says stricter rules will be enforced during second phase of movement control order

KUALA LUMPUR/JAKARTA: The number of daily coronavirus infections in Malaysia hit a record yesterday.

There were 235 new cases, taking the total to 2,031 cases as of noon yesterday, said Director-General of Health Noor Hisham Abdullah. There were four deaths, taking the toll to 23.

So far, 60 of the new cases reported were linked to the tabligh gathering in Masjid Jamek Sri Petaling.

"The remaining 175 cases are still under investigation," he added. Most Covid-19 cases recorded in the country have been from the tabligh cluster.

Defence Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob said stricter regulations will be enforced during the second phase of the movement control order (MCO).

He said this is to ensure measures taken to break the Covid-19 chain of infection achieves the desired goals.

He said under the ongoing phase one, the people are still allowed to move around, with some restrictions.

"The National Security Council has been asked to draft a new standard operating procedure for phase two of the MCO, where the rules and regulations are tighter and more stringent than what is in place now.

"So maybe after this, there will be more restrictions imposed," he said yesterday.

Mr Ismail Sabri said he would not announce the new measures yet, adding that the NSC would present the new standard operating procedure on Saturday.

On Wednesday, Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin said the MCO would be extended by two weeks until April 14. The first phase of the MCO is in force from March 18 to 31.

In Indonesia, there are 103 new cases and another 20 deaths as of yesterday, bringing its death toll to 78, the highest in South-east Asia.

The new cases bring the country's total to 893, Health Ministry official Achmad Yurianto said yesterday.

He said while most of the new cases were from Jakarta, South Sulawesi had a significant number of new cases.

"In South Sulawesi, there were many new cases - 14 people. We need to pay attention to the situation," he said in the daily press briefing.

South Sulawesi recorded 13 cases and one death as of Wednesday. It now has 27 infections, while the number of fatalities remain the same.

RELIGIOUS GATHERING

Last week, the South Sulawesi town of Gowa, around 1½ hours' drive from the provincial capital Makassar, was scheduled to host a religious gathering attended by thousands of Muslims from many parts of the country as well as abroad.

Although the event was later cancelled due to a local government ban, more than 8,000 Muslim pilgrims, including some 400 from other countries, had already gathered in the town.

They were then escorted to Makassar airport and seaport by the police and officials. - THE STAR, REUTERS, THE STRAITS TIMES

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