Covid-19 death toll now 23 as total cases pass 2,000 mark

Health personnel screening for Covid-19.

PETALING JAYA: Malaysia reported a total of three deaths related to Covid-19 today, with a spike in new cases of the deadly virus in the last 24 hours.

The latest casualties push the death toll to 23.

A total of 235 new cases were also reported, more than yesterday’s 172, pushing the total number of patients so far to 2,031.

Health director-general Dr Noor Hisham said 45 patients are currently being treated in the intensive care unit (ICU), with 32 cases needing respiratory assistance.

He said 16 patients have recovered, bringing the total number discharged so far to 215.

Earlier today, Noor Hisham announced the 21st Covid-19 death, a 63-year-old tabligh participant with a history of chronic medical problems.

The patient was admitted to Hospital Sultanah Bahiyah in Alor Setar on March 23 and died at 4am today.

The two most recent deaths involve a 48-year-old man in Johor who attended the Sri Petaling Mosque tabligh convention (who died three days ago but was confirmed as positive for Covid-19 only today) and a 62-year-old man in Perak. Both had a history of chronic illness.

Noor Hisham went on to say that “more that half” of the total number of Covid-19 deaths were linked to the tabligh cluster.

He also said that health authorities have so far screened 13,762 of those who took part in the gathering. So far, 1,117 cases have tested positive.

Noor Hisham maintained that about 16,000 had attended the gathering, including 1,500 foreigners, held from Feb 27 till March 1.

On a related matter, Noor Hisham said they were still waiting for the test results for 12 tabligh members detained by security forces after they returned from a cancelled event in Indonesia.

The 12, who attempted to enter Sabah waters off Tawau by boat, were nabbed on Sunday.

Noor Hisham also revealed that as of noon, some 80 healthcare personnel from the ministry had tested positive for Covid-19, of which 39 were from the Teluk Intan Hospital.

However, none of them were infected when treating Covid-19 patients.

“They were infected when they attended weddings, or at other events.”