2 more virus deaths, 142 new cases but more recoveries

Health director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah says 2,359 volunteers have offered their services in the fight against Covid-19.

PUTRAJAYA: There have been two Covid-19 related deaths in Malaysia in the last 24 hours, with 142 new cases reported.

The latest casualties – a woman aged 80 and a 62-year-old man – push the death toll to 45.

On a more positive note, health director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah also announced 108 recoveries, the highest so far in the country, pushing the total number of patients who recovered to 645.

Noor Hisham said the latest two fatalities had a history of chronic illness and close contact with a positive case each. Both died yesterday.

He said the 142 new cases bring the total throughout the country to 2,908. One hundred and two of them are in the intensive care unit (ICU).

Noor Hisham did not dismiss the possibility of another cluster of Malaysians who attended a tabligh event in India.

According to the Times of India, some 20 Malaysians had attended an international gathering in early March at the Tabligh-e-Jamaat’s Markaz in New Delhi.

He said the ministry is gathering information and has contacted its counterparts in India.

“It is not easy to get this kind of information, but we have a few leads and hope to be able to locate them in time,” he said.

Noor Hisham also said a total of 2,359 volunteers have offered their services in the fight against Covid-19, including 65 specialists, 909 nurses, 159 medical officers and 704 assistant medical officers.

He said they will be deployed to health facilities, like hospitals and clinics, near their homes.

“We welcome volunteers, especially anaesthesiologists and nurses who were previously stationed in ICUs, as there is an increase in cases being warded in the ICUs,” he said.

MCO has helped curb spread of Covid-19

Meanwhile, Noor Hisham said the movement control order (MCO), which the government has been enforcing since March 18, has helped curb the spread of Covid-19.

Based on an initial projection by the Malaysian Institute of Economic Research (MIER), the number of cases was estimated to surge, but since the MCO, Noor Hisham said there has been no sudden spike.

The numbers, he said, were somewhat stagnant.

“This shows that, based on the graph, we have succeeded with the MCO.

“We hope in the second phase of the MCO, we can increase our strategies, especially at the hotpots,” he said, adding that if there was a sudden spike in cases, the government would implement the enhanced MCO, which sees tight control of the movement of people and house-to-house testing.