KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia — Malaysia opened its first mass vaccination center on Monday as the government sought to accelerate inoculations amid a worsening outbreak.
Located in an exhibition center in Kuala Lumpur, the center can vaccinate up to 8,000 people a day. Officials say more such mass centers will be opened nationwide but some critics urged the government to instead set up smaller centers at district levels to improve its outreach.
Malaysia begins a near total lockdown starting Tuesday, the second time in over a year. Most social and economic activities, except for 17 essential sectors, will be shut down for at least two weeks as the government struggles to contain a worsening pandemic.
Daily virus cases hit a record high of 9,020 on Saturday before easing to 6,824 Monday. Malaysia’s total infections have surged to 572,357 while deaths are more than 2,600, both rising five-fold compared to the whole of last year.
Less than 10% of the country’s 33 million people have been vaccinated so far.