Malaysia Reports Record Daily Covid Cases as Pressure Mounts

Malaysia reported its biggest single-day increase in Covid cases since the pandemic began, adding pressure on the government to do more after imposing nationwide curbs on movement this month.

The country had 6,075 new Covid-19 cases Wednesday, with the nation’s richest state Selangor contributing the most number of new infections with 2,251 cases, according to Health Director General Noor Hisham Abdullah in a tweet. This was followed by the southern state of Johor at 699 and capital city of Kuala Lumpur at 660, he said.

Daily coronavirus deaths in Malaysia in the past two weeks have surged to records amid the detection of new variants. Selangor has fueled the surge in daily infections in May, overwhelming its health system and spurring calls for a full lockdown of the state that is home to businesses including the world’s top rubber glove manufacturers.

Selangor Chief Minister Amirudin Shari said he would accept a lockdown with the hope that it’s done “holistically” and would take into account the needs of the marginalized, people’s mental health and social conditions. The infectivity rate in Selangor is not the highest in the country, and the state had begun conducting mass testings this month.

Shares of Genting Malaysia Bhd., which operates a hilltop casino, tumbled almost 5% in Kuala Lumpur trading, while its parent Genting Bhd. sank 4.2%. Glove makers rallied, with Supermax Corp. jumping 8.2%, Hartalega Holdings Bhd. adding 3.8% and Top Glove Corp. rising 2%.

READ: Malaysia Need Not Close Economy to Contain Virus, Says Zafrul

Malaysia is struggling with the slow pace of inoculation, and less than 3% of the population has been fully vaccinated. Daily cases may exceed 8,000 by June if people don’t adhere to lockdown rules, according to the health ministry’s latest data modeling.

The situation is dire in the Klang Valley, an area that comprises Selangor, Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya, and the Covid-linked admissions to intensive care units there surged 94% in the past two weeks, Health Director-General Noor Hisham Abdullah said in a Facebook post.

“Stay at home if you have no urgent matters outside and comply with the SOPs,” he said. “Help us so that we are still able to help you if and when the time comes.”

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