WHO expects Malaysia's coronavirus cases to peak in mid-April

Health workers perform testing in Petaling Jaya, Malaysia, on March 28, 2020.
Health workers perform testing in Petaling Jaya, Malaysia, on March 28, 2020.PHOTO: REUTERS

KUALA LUMPUR (REUTERS) - The number of coronavirus cases in Malaysia is expected to peak in mid-April and there are signs of a flattening of the infection curve, the World Health Organisation said on Thursday (April 2), as the country reported 208 new cases and another five deaths.

There are now 3,116 cases of infection in Malaysia and 50 deaths. The country has the highest number of known infections in South-east Asia. 

It has imposed travel and movement curbs to contain the spread of the virus.

"Based on available data, the WHO Country Office has projected that Malaysia will see a peak in hospitalised cases in mid-April," Dr Ying-Ru Lo, the WHO’s head of mission and representative to Malaysia, Brunei and Singapore told Reuters in e-mailed comments.

The number of critically ill patients is estimated to reach the peak within the next week, she said, adding that the WHO projections could change.

"There are initial signs of flattening of the curve, but this could bounce back if control measures are lifted and if people don’t continue to take protective measures," Dr Lo said.

Dr Lo added that data on new infections so far and additional surveillance measures did not suggest widespread community transmission in the country.

Malaysia’s health ministry on Wednesday said the rate of new infections appeared to be slowing amid the movement restrictions.

Malaysia has ramped up its diagnostic testing capacity in recent days, testing over 7,000 a day from last week’s 3,500.