(Updated)

Covid-19: Malaysia's daily cases cross 23,000 mark for first time today, despite rising vaccination rate

Photo by Shahrin Yahya/The Edge

Photo by Shahrin Yahya/The Edge

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KUALA LUMPUR (Aug 20): Malaysia's daily Covid-19 cases crossed the 23,000 mark for the first time today, with 23,564 infections — up from yesterday's 22,948.

The latest cases were discovered from testing 162,473 individuals across the country in the past 24 hours, indicating a positivity rate of 14.5%, according to Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah in a statement.

Daily cases have continued to climb in the last two days after surging past 22,000 on Wednesday (Aug 18) to the record high then of 22,242, despite the country having one of the fastest vaccination rates in the world, with over half a million vaccine shots doled out daily.

As of Thursday, 12.08 million people representing 37% of Malaysia's total population, had been fully vaccinated, and 54.5% had had at least one vaccine shot.

Active cases climb to new high

Active infections — which carry high transmission risks — rose to a new high of 257,417 today, as new recoveries of 21,448 could not offset the increase in new infections. To date, the country has detected 1.51 million infections, of which 1.24 million have recovered.

The Ministry also reported 233 fatalities linked to the coronavirus, up from 178 on Thursday. Selangor reported the highest deaths at 101, followed by Kuala Lumpur (31), Johor (23), Sabah (17), Perak (16), Penang (15), Negeri Sembilan (11), Kedah (9), Terengganu (4), Kelantan (3) and Pahang (3).

Sixty of the new fatalities today were dead upon reaching the hospital. They involved 44 Malaysians and 16 foreigners.

There are now 1,062 patients in intensive care — two more than Thursday — and 518 need ventilators to breathe.

82.2% of latest cases unvaccinated and half-vaccinated

Of the new cases, 19,362 or 82.2% were patients who either have had no prior history of vaccination or have not completed their two-dose regimen, said Dr Noor Hisham.

Meanwhile, the asymptomatic or with mild symptoms continue to make up the bulk of new cases, with 23,133 or 98.2% being in Categories 1 (no symptoms) and 2 (mild symptoms).

Those with more severe symptoms total 431 cases or 1.8%, spread across Categories 3 (patients with pneumonia), 4 (with pneumonia requiring oxygen therapy) and 5 (critical cases needing assisted ventilation).

The worst-hit State of Selangor reported 6,974 new cases, followed by Sabah (2,738), Sarawak (2,548), Kedah (1,932) and Kuala Lumpur (1,652).

38 new clusters detected with 1,383 infections among them

According to Dr Noor Hisham, 38 new clusters have been identified today, with 1,383 infections among them.

They comprise 22 workplace clusters, 14 community clusters, and two education clusters. The country has reported 4,386 clusters so far, including 2,964 that have been declared ended — leaving 1,422 active clusters.

Tan Choe Choe