PETALING JAYA: Malaysia reported 45 deaths from Covid-19 yesterday, the highest death toll in a single day since the pandemic broke out last March, as fatalities continued their recent upward trend.
For comparison, in the last week of April, the death toll had never gone past 20 in a day.
With yesterday’s fatalities, Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said the death toll now stood at 1,947, with the fatalities aged between 36 and 90.
Malaysia also logged 4,446 new infections, outpacing the 2,784 recoveries in the same 24-hour span.
There are currently 43,506 active cases, with 522 patients in intensive care units and 273 of them on ventilator support.
There were also 14 new clusters, seven of which are linked to community transmissions.
Four of the clusters were linked to religious activities while another three were linked to workplaces.
Dr Noor Hisham also confirmed seven more Covid-19 cases in Malaysia were found to be linked to a variant of concern (VOC).
“Following genomic surveillance conducted by the Institute of Medical Research on 10 Covid-19 samples from May 10 to 14, seven more cases linked to a VOC have been identified.
“There are four local cases linked to the South African B.1.351 variant in Kuala Lumpur.
“There are also three cases involving foreigners, which are linked to the B.1.617 Indian variant (sublineage B.1.617.2), ” he said.
To date, he added, there were 66 cases linked to the South African B.1.351 variant and five cases linked to the Indian B.1.617 variant.
The South African B.1.351 variant was found in some local clusters such as the Jalan Canning Estate cluster and the Kampung Bunut Sarang Burung cluster.
Some 19 cases linked to this variant were detected through close contact screening.
The Indian variant’s sublineage B.1.617.2 was found in Malaysia, with two cases detected at an international entry point and one case detected through screening.
All cases had a history of travel to India.
“The Malaysian government has had the 14-day mandatory quarantine period for travellers from countries with a VOC in the community since April 28.
“It has also imposed an entry ban on non-Malaysian travellers from India since May 7, following the worrying spread of the VOC.
“The Health Ministry will continue activities to control infectious diseases, such as epidemic surveillance, strategic Covid-19 screening, contact tracing and public health measures to curb the spread of the variants in the community, ” said Dr Noor Hisham.