PETALING JAYA (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK, REUTERS) – Malaysia on Saturday (Oct 3) reported its highest daily increase in coronavirus cases since it began tracking the pandemic, with 317 new infections, amid government assurances that the situation was under control.
Malaysia has reported a total of 12,088 cases so far. The health ministry also recorded one new death, raising the total to 137.
Earlier on Saturday Malaysia’s Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin had said the country is committed to contain the spread of the Covid-19 virus as soon as possible.
He assured the public that the Covid-19 situation is still under control and that it is being managed well by the relevant government agencies.
He said he was informed during a special meeting that 128 out of 287 cases reported on Friday involved the staff members and detainees in Alor Setar prison.
“The remaining cases were reported in Sabah and a few states in the peninsula. The presentation by the Health Ministry showed that the number of Covid-19 cases in Sabah to date involved 139 people, which is about 1.18 per cent of the total number of Covid-19 cases in the country (so far).
“I understand the concerns by the public following the increase in new cases of the spread of the Covid-19 infection.
“The situation for the time being is under control and can be curbed with the co-operation of various agencies and public health monitoring activities by the Health Ministry that are ongoing, ” he said in a Facebook post on Saturday, after chairing a special National Security Council meeting on Covid-19.
Tan Sri Muhyiddin had said that many of the recent Covid-19 cases were among detainees in prison, in targeted enhanced movement control order (MCO) areas, and from clusters that have already been identified.
“All these areas are being monitored the whole time and case detection activities and active contact tracing are being done to ensure that positive cases are being identified and isolated.
“This matter has caused many more Covid-19 positive cases to be detected and to contribute to the daily statistics in the country.
“I hope that this matter could be understood and I wish to emphasise that the situation is still under control and that is being well managed by the government agencies that are involved,” he said.
In the meeting, he said he has been informed that the Covid-19 cases in Sabah were found to have originated from the entry of undocumented migrants from neighbouring countries.
“As such, the government has made a decision that all undocumented migrants who have been detained must be screened and placed in temporary detention and quarantine centres (PTS) that will be prepared beforehand.
“At the moment, the PTS in Sabah has exceeded their capacity,” he said, adding that more PTS will be set up for detained migrants before they are deported.
More healthcare workers, he added, will be stationed to conduct screenings on the detained migrants.
“Members of the country’s security forces will also be increased to control the country’s borders to curb the entry of undocumented migrants, especially in the state of Sabah. Assets are being mobilised to hamper attempts to break through the country’s border,” he said.
Stressing that Malaysia’s level of preparedness is high, Mr Muhyiddin added that the country has 40 hospitals and 34 centres for low-risk Covid-19 quarantine and treatment, with a capacity of 5,674 beds.
“The utilisation rate of beds in Covid-19 hospitals at the moment is only at 24 per cent,” he said.
Healthcare facilities, he added, have 437 intensive care unit (ICU) beds and 1,505 ventilators.
“I wish to urge the people to remain calm in facing the Covid-19 situation during this time. I trust that our team of front-liners in the country, especially the Health Ministry and the security forces, has the capacity and expertise to handle the situation well,” he said.