KUALA LUMPUR, May 21 — As of yesterday, 83 per cent of the intensive care unit (ICU) beds prepared for Covid-19 patients nationwide have been taken up, according to Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah.

In a Facebook post today, Dr Noor Hisham shared a graph showing that Covid-19 ICU bed occupancy has increased from less than 200 beds in March to now close to 900 beds.

The graph also showed that there are more Covid-19 ICU patients — suspected or confirmed — in need of breathing assistance than otherwise.

The latest figure of “ventilated” Covid-19 ICU patients was shown to reach above 500, while “non-ventilated” patients numbered less than 400.

As the number of Covid-19 patients rises nationwide — along with those warded in ICUs — the Ministry of Health (MoH) has been scrambling to prepare more ICU beds for Covid-19 patients.

On May 11, MoH announced that it had a total of 734 ICU beds for Covid-19 patients, with 641 of those taken up by May 12.

On May 15, the ministry said it then had 850 ICU beds set aside for Covid-19 patients — making up about 61 per cent of the total 1,388 ICU beds in 78 government and teaching hospitals.

Yesterday, Malaysia reported a new daily record in Covid-19 infections and deaths.

MoH announced there were 59 Covid-19 fatalities and 6,806 new infections in the last 24-hour period.

The latest numbers pushed Malaysia’s total cases to 492,302 — the third highest in South-east Asia behind Indonesia and the Philippines, although both countries have a significantly larger population than Malaysia.