KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia — Confirmed coronavirus cases in Malaysia soared to another daily high, breaching 8,000 for the first time as the government struggles to contain large outbreaks.
The Health Ministry reported 8,290 new infections Friday, bringing the country’s total cases to 549,514. It reported another 61 COVID-19 deaths, raising Malaysia’s total to 2,552. Nearly 40% of all the deaths happened this month.
Senior Minister Ismail Sabri said many ethnic Malay Muslims have violated COVID-19 safety rules that banned them from visiting each other during the recent Eid festival. He said 24 Eid clusters have produced 850 confirmed cases.
More worrying, he said, is that many of the positive cases involved people who were asymptomatic.
The Malaysian government imposed a near-lockdown on the eve of the Eid festival to curb an aggressive outbreak that has strained its hospitals. Still, it refused to halt business activities for fear doing so would cripple the economy.
Malaysia’s total cases and deaths so far this year have jumped five-fold from the whole of last year. The government plans to ramp up vaccinations. So far, some 1.7 million out of over 11 million people who registered have received one dose.