Malaysia sees record 17,045 new Covid-19 cases, as Delta variant spreads

Malaysia's total has breached the one-million case mark. PHOTO: REUTERS

KUALA LUMPUR - Malaysia recorded 17,045 new Covid-19 cases on Sunday (July 25), setting a new record for the third consecutive day as the country surpassed one million cumulative cases since the pandemic started.

After recording more than 15,000 cases in each of the previous two days, Malaysia now has 1.013 million Covid-19 cases.

The Klang Valley region - consisting of Malaysia's capital Kuala Lumpur and its most populous state Selangor - continued to contribute the bulk of infections, collectively recording more than 10,500 cases.

The northern state of Kedah set its own record high after it logged 1,216 cases. Penang too set a new record high of 573 cases.

Malaysia's Covid-19 numbers have continued to soar, despite it entering a third month of movement restrictions that started in May.

Infections fuelled by more transmissible variants of concern, chiefly the Delta variant first identified in India, have defied a more stringent lockdown introduced on June 1.

Earlier on Friday, the eastern state of Kelantan detected its first case of the Delta variant, involving a woman in Pasir Puteh, reported The Star.

The state's Housing and Health Committee chairman Izani Husin said the woman had been infected with Covid-19 before.

"I expect that this Delta variant infection is already present in the community and this is very worrying," he said at a press conference on Sunday.

New infections continued to outpace daily recoveries, which stood at 9,683 on Sunday. Meanwhile, the total number of active cases rose to more than 160,000, continuing to strain the country's stretched healthcare system.

Nearly 1,000 people are in intensive care units, with more than half of them requiring ventilator support.

However, the country saw its daily death toll dip to 92 on Sunday, after consistently recording more than 100 deaths a day for much of last week. Nearly 8,000 people have died so far from the pandemic.

On Sunday, a group of opposition lawmakers and activists led by lawyer Ambiga Sreenevasan lodged a police report alleging the government had been negligent in managing the Covid-19 crisis.

The group called for the government to be more accountable, saying Health Minister Adham Baba and ministries involved in the country's pandemic response needed to take the issue seriously.

Meanwhile, the country's vaccination rate has picked up pace, with nearly half of its eligible adult population having received at least one dose of vaccine as at Saturday.

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About 23 per cent of the adult population has been fully inoculated.

The country administered 417,738 doses of vaccine on Saturday, and has consistently inoculated 400,000 people a day for the past few days.

Malaysia is expected to fully inoculate all eligible adults in the Klang Valley by the end of next month. It hopes to vaccinate the rest of the country by the end of October, as more vaccines arrive in the coming months.

Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin has said the authorities are expected to ease Covid-19 restrictions for fully vaccinated people soon.

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