KUALA LUMPUR - Malaysia recorded five deaths from the coronavirus pandemic on Saturday (March 21), bringing its total number of deaths from the virus to eight.
Health ministry director-general Noor Hisham Abdullah said two of the deaths were a mother-daughter duo from Sarawak while the other three were linked to an Islamic gathering near Kuala Lumpur.
The event was attended by 16,000 people from over 20 countries and has been linked to nearly 750 cases in South-east Asia.
Datuk Dr Noor Hisham said the elder 79-year-old woman was admitted to Borneo Medical Centre in Sarawak on March 16 after suffering from fever and cough for five days.
"She had difficulty breathing but her family disagree that she is to be given respiratory aid. She was taken home by her family on March 17 and was confirmed dead the next day. She has contact with two others who were found to be Covid-19 positive, namely her son and her daughter," he said.
The woman's daughter, who is 40, was admitted to Sarawak general hospital on March 18 after experiencing fever and cough since March 7.
"She was certified Covid-19 positive on March 19 and was given respiratory aid on the same day as her health continues to deteriorate. She died on March 21 at 1.20pm," said Dr Noor Hisham.
Dr Noor Hisham said the country's sixth case involved a 50-year-old Malaysian man from the Islamic gathering cluster.
He was admitted into the Melaka Hospital on March 12 with severe acute respiratory infection symptoms.
"He was then put on a ventilator on the fifth day when he was admitted to the isolation ward and subsequently to the intensive care unit.
However, the man's condition deteriorated and he was declared dead on March 21 at 1.30am.
The seventh case involved a 57-year-old Malaysia man who has travelled to Vietnam and has contact with a Covid-19 positive person from the Islamic gathering.
The man was admitted to Kuala Lumpur hospital on March 18 after experiencing fever, cough and sore throat for a week.
His health continue to deteriorate and he needed respiratory aid but he died on Saturday at 3.22pm.
The eight death involved a Malaysian man aged 69 also from the Islamic gathering cluster, said Dr Noor Hisham.
He was admitted to Tumpat hospital in Kelantan on March 16 after suffering from fever four days earlier.
The man was then transferred to Hospital Raja Perempuan Zainab II in the state capital of Kota Bharu on March 18 after his health continued to deteriorate.
"He needed respiratory aid the next day. He died on March 21 at 4pm," said Dr Noor Hisham.
Malaysia reported 153 new cases of coronavirus infection on Saturday, bringing the cumulative total to 1,183, making the country's cumulative infection tally as the highest in South-east Asia.
Dr Noor Hisham also revealed that to date, 24 healthcare professionals have contracted the coronavirus.
Of the total, 19 consisted of workers from his ministry while five are from the private sector.
Two of them are currently in intensive care.
Dr Noor Hisham said the the infections were not due to any failure to adhere to protocols.
"The result of the investigation revealed that all of them were of close contact with the first and second generation of the those who had attended the Islamic gathering," he said.