Malaysia reports more than 800 Covid-19 cases for third day

Bulk of cases from Sabah; govt considers stricter Selangor curbs

A closure notice on the gate of a school in Ipoh, Perak, yesterday after a student was confirmed to have Covid-19. Some schools in Perak, Melaka and several other Malaysian states have been ordered to close after students were found to be infected. M
A closure notice on the gate of a school in Ipoh, Perak, yesterday after a student was confirmed to have Covid-19. Some schools in Perak, Melaka and several other Malaysian states have been ordered to close after students were found to be infected. Meanwhile, Selangor yesterday logged 107 cases, or 12.4 per cent of new cases.PHOTO: BERNAMA
A Malaysian Fire and Rescue Department officer sanitising an area outside a block of apartments in Shah Alam, Selangor, yesterday. The country recorded 865 cases yesterday, the third consecutive day when daily infections were above 800. The governmen
A Malaysian Fire and Rescue Department officer sanitising an area outside a block of apartments in Shah Alam, Selangor, yesterday. The country recorded 865 cases yesterday, the third consecutive day when daily infections were above 800. The government is now debating whether it should impose a stricter lockdown in Selangor, Malaysia's most industrialised state. PHOTO: EPA-EFE

PETALING JAYA • Malaysia yesterday reported 865 new Covid-19 cases in the last 24 hours, slightly lower than the record-high 871 logged on Sunday.

It was the third consecutive day of above-800 infections recorded in a single day, with the government mulling over whether to impose a stricter lockdown for Selangor. The state, with Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya, were placed under the conditional movement control order (CMCO) for 14 days from last Wednesday.

Malaysia's cumulative total of cases yesterday stood at 21,363, since the country reported its first Covid-19 cases in January.

The Health Ministry's director-general, Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah, said there were three new deaths yesterday, taking the total number of fatalities to 190. The three deaths were all in Sabah.

The bulk of the new cases continued to come from Sabah, with 643 new infections out of 865, or 74.3 per cent of the total.

The current spike in Malaysia has been blamed on the two weeks of campaigning ahead of the Sept 26 Sabah state elections, as politicians and campaigners from all over the country mingled freely with Sabahans at political rallies. Some of these visitors later brought Covid-19 to their home states.

Selangor yesterday logged 107 cases, or 12.4 per cent of new cases. This was followed by the federal territory of Labuan, with 34 cases, and Penang's 26 new cases.

In Shah Alam, Selangor, Malaysian carmaker Proton confirmed yesterday that 49 of its employees have tested positive for Covid-19, after one of its staff testing positive earlier on Oct 14.

Meanwhile, some schools in Perak, Melaka and several other states have been ordered to close after students were found to be infected.

In a separate news briefing, Senior Minister for Security Ismail Sabri Yaakob said that the Health Ministry has been asked whether there is a need to place the whole state of Selangor under an enhanced MCO (EMCO).

The ongoing CMCO has meant the shutdown of most social activities such as mass worship, but the government has allowed gyms and public parks to remain open.

Malls, offices and markets have remained open, too, while imposing what the government calls standard operating procedures (SOPs) such as the checking of temperatures and providing hand sanitisers.

But under the EMCO, an area would be generally cordoned off, with the shutdown of most economic and social activities.

Packets of food would need to be sent into homes in these areas, as residents would be banned from leaving their homes even to buy food.

Datuk Seri Ismail raised the issue as cases in Selangor continued to climb. He said: "We have asked the ministry to look into this, to review the SOPs and give the National Security Council its assessment on the situation.

"While there are those who feel that placing these areas under enhanced MCO will do the trick to bring down the cases, bear in mind that this means the economy will have to be shut down and food will be sent over to the houses."

THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 20, 2020, with the headline 'Malaysia reports more than 800 Covid-19 cases for third day'. Subscribe