Malaysia reports 105 new COVID-19 cases

KUALA LUMPUR (CNA) – Malaysia reported 105 new coronavirus cases yesterday as the number of daily cases went back up to triple digits – a two-week high.

This brings the tally of COVID-19 cases in the country to 6,176.

Of the new infections, 11 were imported cases and 94 were from local transmissions, said Health Director-General Noor Hisham Abdullah at a media briefing.

He added that 116 more patients have recovered and were discharged yesterday, raising the total number of recoveries to 4,326.

Thirty-one cases are being treated in the intensive care unit while 12 of them requiring ventilator support.

A city view of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia during the movement control order yesterday. PHOTO: AP

Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin had on Friday announced an easing of COVID-19 restrictions, allowing most economic sectors to open from May 4 with health protocols in place.

The decision to ease restrictions sparked criticism in some quarters, including members of the ruling coalition.

Former Prime Minister Najib Razak, whose political party UMNO is part of the ruling coalition, said the easing of measures was “huge and sudden” and that there was no rush to reopen the economy, local media reported.

A Change.org petition to stop the measures from being partially lifted garnered over 250,000 signatures yesterday.

Authorities stressed that the movement control order (MCO) remains in force, and action will be taken against those who violate the rules.

Religious activities such as Friday prayers and congregation in mosques will not be permitted.

Interstate travel, including to return to hometowns for the upcoming Aidilfitri celebration, is still not allowed. Schools and institutions of higher learning will remain closed.

Senior Minister (Security Cluster) Ismail Sabri Yaakob said yesterday Malaysia was not being hasty in relaxing the curbs, stressing that businesses reopening tomorrow will have to implement hygiene and social distancing measures.

He also urged residents to do their part, warning that the fight against COVID-19 is far from over.

“This is the new normal, even if the MCO comes to an end, social distancing and washing hands with soap and water must be maintained, to protect our health and safety,” he said.

The movement control order, enforced since March 18, has been extended three times until May 12.