Covid-19: 120 new cases reported in Malaysia today, 95 related to tabligh gathering cluster

Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Adham Baba speaks during a press conference in Putrajaya March 17, 2020. — Picture by Choo Choy May
Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Adham Baba speaks during a press conference in Putrajaya March 17, 2020. — Picture by Choo Choy May

PUTRAJAYA, March 17 — The Health Ministry said today it has detected 120 more confirmed cases of Covid-19, bringing the total number of positive cases in Malaysia to 673.

Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Adham Baba said 95 out of the 120 cases were linked to the tabligh gathering at Kuala Lumpur’s Jamek Sri Petaling Mosque, which ran from February 27 to March 1.

“The ministry would like to inform that seven cases have been declared free of Covid-19 and discharged today. This brings to a total of 49 cases that have since fully recovered.

“Presently, 12 positive cases are being treated at Intensive Care Units and require breathing assistance,” he said in a press conference at the ministry here.

Of the 673 cases reported, Dr Adham said 428 were linked to the tabligh gathering cluster alone.

Following the spike in cases, Dr Adham further said the decision made by Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin to announce the movement control order was therefore justified.

“The ministry would like to state that the Malaysian government has taken drastic measures to curb the spread of Covid-19 by restricting the public’s movement.

“This approach needed to be enforced to ensure Malaysians do not get infected further by the virus in the country which has now entered the second wave,” he said.

Dr Adham also sternly reminded those who refused to comply with the nationwide movement order that they would be punished with imprisonment between two and five years or a fine or both.

Muhyiddin had said yesterday Malaysia will effectively be hitting pause on all non-essential activities for two weeks from tomorrow (March 18) until March 31 to stop the spread of the Covid-19 virus under a nationwide movement control order.

Pedestrians are seen wearing masks along Jalan Bukit Bintang, Kuala Lumpur March 16 2020. — Picture by Choo Choy May
Pedestrians are seen wearing masks along Jalan Bukit Bintang, Kuala Lumpur March 16 2020. — Picture by Choo Choy May

This order covers the whole of Malaysia, with a ban on public gatherings including for any religious, sports, social and cultural events except for supermarkets, sundry goods stores, markets and other places selling daily necessities or things that people would need for their day-to-day lives.

This is the first time Malaysia has enforced such an order.

The order was made under the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act 1988 and the Police Act 1967.

Under the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act, a person is liable for imprisonment up to two years or fine or both for first-time offence.

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