PUTRAJAYA: The death toll from the Covid-19 outbreak in Malaysia continues to increase with four more casualties recorded in the last 24 hours.
A total of 150 new cases were also reported, pushing the total number of infected patients nationwide so far to 3,483.
Of the 150, 80 are linked to the Sri Petaling mosque gathering in late February.
Health director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah also said 99 patients are currently being treated in the intensive care unit (ICU), 55 of whom need respiratory assistance.
On a more positive note, 88 more patients have been discharged, bringing the total number of recoveries to 915, 26.7% of the total amount of cases.
The four dead comprised two men and two women, aged between 56 and 85, from Kuala Lumpur, Kelantan, Sarawak and Pahang. All of them had other medical conditions as well.
Noor Hisham said 44.36% of cases have been linked to the Sri Petaling Mosque cluster so far, adding that the ministry will continue to focus on tracing close contacts and family members of those who attended the tabligh gathering to do testing.
He said acute case detections in locked-down areas have yielded more confirmed cases, with Kluang, Johor, recording three new positive cases, 14 in Hulu Langat, Selangor, and one at the Menara City One condominium in Kuala Lumpur.
He also said frontliners have been instructed to treat patients exhibiting symptoms of pneumonia or severe acute respiratory infection (SARI) as though they are Covid-19 positive, until proven otherwise.
“Twelve healthcare workers, who were involved in treating SARI patients, have been infected. So, healthcare workers must take all necessary precautions to avoid getting infected,” he said.
Screening for Covid-19 being done in prisons
He also addressed claims of crowded prisons with the high number of arrests during the movement control order (MCO), telling reporters that screenings are being conducted there as well.
“We are trying to avoid public gatherings, so even in prisons, we space them out and ensure social distancing is practised.
“What’s more important is, when we try to enforce this MCO, the public must have the social discipline. Only then can we make it work. Otherwise, we are putting our country in jeopardy.”
When asked on the possibility of a further extension to the MCO, he emphasised that the ministry must rely on the data and added that it was too early to call.
“The reality is that we need to base it on science and facts. Hopefully, by April 10, the data will be available for us to make a decision.”
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