KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia reported 17,134 new COVID-19 cases on Wednesday (Feb 9), the highest daily figure in nearly five months.
The last time the country registered more than 17,000 new infections was on Sep 17 when it hit 17,577 cases.
Health director general Noor Hisham Abdullah said 99.5 per cent of the new cases were mild or asymptomatic. Fifty-eight patients suffered lung infections while 24 required oxygen supplementation.
Four other cases were in critical condition and on ventilator support.
Malaysia has seen a spike in new COVID-19 cases in recent days, with the Health Minister saying on Sunday that the country was “fully into (an) Omicron wave”.
Dr Noor Hisham had also earlier warned that new daily cases may reach the 22,000 mark by the end of March if the present trend continues.
BORDER REOPENING PLANS
Malaysia’s National Recovery Council (NRC) on Tuesday said it has agreed to fully reopen the country’s borders by March in order to support economic recovery.
This could take place as soon as Mar 1, said NRC chairman Muhyiddin Yassin, following an in-person meeting with Cabinet members including Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin as well as other government officials and members of the media.
No quarantine will be necessary, he said, adding that COVID-19 testing before departure and upon arrival will still be required. Malaysia’s border would also be open to all countries.
“The Minister of Health said the Omicron variant is present all over the world and in the community, so we can’t choose (to open borders to selected countries),” he said.
Muhyiddin subsequently announced on Wednesday that he has tested positive for COVID-19 and is currently quarantined at home.
The former prime minister, who reported mild symptoms, said he is in “good condition” and isolating at home according to the health ministry's guidelines.
He also urged those who may be close contacts to abide by the prevailing health protocols.
As of Wednesday, Malaysia has reported more than 2.95 million COVID-19 cases with more than 32,000 fatalities.