KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia reported 14 new COVID-19 deaths on Tuesday (Jan 19), as the government moved to expand its movement control order (MCO) to all states except Sarawak.
The latest fatalities come amid a nationwide state of emergency as Malaysia struggles to contain a surge in COVID-19 infections.
The deaths reported on Tuesday involve 12 citizens and two foreigners aged 46 to 84.
The fatalities were recorded in Perak, Selangor, Kedah, Kelantan, Sarawak, Johor and Labuan. Most of the victims had pre-existing conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure.
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A total of 3,631 new COVID-19 cases were also recorded, with the Klang Valley area comprising Selangor and Kuala Lumpur accounting for about half of the new infections.
A total of 1,199 cases were found in Selangor and 521 in Kuala Lumpur, while Sabah and Johor accounted for 526 and 368 infections respectively.
Nine new clusters were also identified, bringing the total number of active clusters in Malaysia to 305. Four of the new clusters involved workplaces, two were from family gatherings and one started at a wedding reception.
There are currently 238 COVID-19 patients in the intensive care unit, of which 96 require respiratory support, said health director-general Noor Hisham Abdullah.
The percentage of COVID-19 patients classified as “serious” in government hospitals has also increased five-fold from 3 per cent to 15 per cent.
Dr Noor Hisham said the health ministry anticipates the number of new cases to stabilise in another two weeks and also urged members of the public to not visit hospitals unnecessarily in order to avoid catching the coronavirus.
The health ministry will also consider the need to extend the MCO period based on current risk assessment, he added.
Defence Minister Ismail Sabri on Tuesday said the MCO will be implemented in Kedah, Perak, Pahang, Terengganu, Perlis and Negeri Sembilan. This will be effective from 12.01am on Jan 22 and last until Feb 4.
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This comes after Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin said last week that five states, including Penang, Selangor, Melaka, Johor and Sabah, and the federal territories of Kuala Lumpur, Putrajaya and Labuan will be placed under MCO again for two weeks from Jan 13 to Jan 26. Kelantan was subsequently placed under MCO beginning Jan 16.
Malaysia has reported four-digit increases in daily COVID-19 cases for more than a month with Muhyiddin saying the country’s healthcare system is at breaking point.
As of Tuesday, Malaysia has recorded a total of 165,371 COVID-19 cases, of which 39,464 are considered infectious or active. There have also been 619 deaths.
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