Kuala Lumpur — Malaysia recorded 3,631 new Covid-19 cases on Friday (Jan 22), bringing the total 176,180.
It was the biggest daily rise since the first pandemic cases were detected in the country on Jan 25 last year.
The country also recorded the most number of Covid-19 deaths in one day on Friday with 18, bringing the death toll to 660, according to the Ministry of Health.
The previous high was 16 cases on Jan 8.
On Thursday (Jan 21), a Movement Control Order (MCO) set to expire in six Malaysian states and federal territories on Jan 26 was extended to Feb 4. The one-week extension means that all Malaysian states and territories, except for the Borneo state of Sarawak, will be under the MCO until Feb 4, just ahead of the Chinese New Year holidays on Feb 12 and 13.
The MCO initially was imposed in five states and three federal territories, namely the states of Selangor, Penang, Johor, Malacca, Sabah and the federal territories of Kuala Lumpur, Putrajaya and Labuan, for two weeks from Jan 13 and was scheduled to end next Thursday.
On Tuesday (Jan 19), the government added six other states — Kedah, Perak, Negeri Sembilan, Terengganu, Pahang and Perlis — with their MOC starting on Friday (Jan 22) until Feb 4.
Kelantan was placed under the MOC from last Saturday. It is scheduled to end Feb 1.
Only Malaysia’s biggest state Sarawak, which has logged lower infections, remains under the more relaxed Recovery MCO.
Meanwhile, Senior Minister for Security Ismail Sabri Yaakob on Thursday (Jan 21) announced an extension to restaurant operation hours during the MCO, following complaints that the initial 8 pm closing time was too early. Restaurants will now be open until 10 pm, though they will still be limited to takeaways and delivery.
Under the MCO guidelines, only certain economic sectors deemed essential can operate. Interstate and inter-district travel is banned, while only two individuals from one household are allowed out for errands.
Malaysia’s coronavirus spikes have not spared politicians, with four Cabinet ministers infected. Economic Affairs Minister Mustapa Mohamed said on Thursday that he was finally discharged after a 12-day stay in a Kelantan hospital, which included three days in the extensive care unit.
Earlier on Tuesday, Home Minister Hamzah Zainudin discovered that a test the previous day had turned up positive. He remains warded at a hospital in Kuala Lumpur, while two other ministers have both tested positive for the coronavirus as well.
Simran Hisaria is an overseas intern with Independent SG. /TISG
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