Second consecutive pandemic case record in Malaysia despite lockdown


Malaysia’s Health Ministry reported almost 23,000 new coronavirus cases on Thursday, the second day in a row that a record high was confirmed.

The unprecedented number came after 225 virus-related fatalities were reported by the ministry on Wednesday, taking the pandemic death toll in the almost 33-million-population nation to 13,302.

Malaysia is reporting by far the most cases per day in South-East Asia, with the region’s biggest country, Indonesia, which has a population around eight times that of Malaysia, reporting around 16,000 new cases on Wednesday.

Thursday’s record was almost six times what was being reported when the government imposed a third pandemic lockdown in May, restrictions it later labelled “total” and which it said would only be dialled back when the case number fell to 4,000 a day.

Turmoil over the pandemic and restrictions, which have caused widespread harm to businesses while failing to do much about the spread of the virus, contributed to the collapse this week of the government led by Muhyiddin Yassin.

Before Muhyiddin quit, the government said it aimed to move to a model in which restrictions would be imposed based on the numbers hospitalized or ill due to the virus, with Health Ministry data showing around 98 per cent of the record new cases showing mild or no symptoms.

Muhyiddin’s deputy, Ismail Sabri Yaakob, is the front runner to take over as prime minister after receiving backing from 114 out of 220 members of parliament, putting him ahead of the other contender, opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim.

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