Malaysia’s Health Ministry on Thursday reported more than 22,000 new cases of the coronavirus in a day for the first time, edging the pandemic total closer to 1.5 million.
The record high comes despite a lockdown in place since mid-May that has caused the economy to nosedive, with a 2-per-cent contraction reported during the second quarter.
Criticism of the government’s pandemic response contributed to the resignation this week of Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin.
The overall relative death toll remains far lower than in Europe or North America, though Malaysia is by a distance reporting the most new cases per day in South-East Asia, according to official numbers collated by the University of Oxford’s Our World in Data.
Wednesday saw 293 virus-related deaths confirmed by the ministry, taking the death toll to over 13,000 in the nation of almost 33 million.
Most people who test positive for the virus do not become unwell, according to the ministry, which on Tuesday said that over 98 per cent of people listed among the day’s new cases displayed mild or no symptoms.
Almost a third of the population has received two doses of vaccine, according to ministry figures announced on Tuesday.