With cases from the coronavirus appearing in Malaysia in mid-February, we didn’t cross the 10,000-case mark until September 16. The same number of new cases were logged in just 13 days (October 11-24).
After a weeks-long full nationwide lockdown in March and April that sent crippling shockwaves through the economy, people are wondering if it was all in vain. Malaysia is now seeing a resurgence of new cases and a troubling increase in deaths. A record high of 1,228 new cases was logged on October 24, the majority of which were in Sabah. (Only 76 of those new cases were recorded in Selangor, and eight in Kuala Lumpur.)
Both contagious and insidious, the coronavirus pandemic has roared back in Malaysia – and in many other countries, as well – reminding us that we are far from being anywhere close to “back to normal.”
In Belgium, the total cases were around 90,000 as of September 11. Six weeks later, that number has more than tripled, now over 320,000 and continuing to rise rapidly. In response, the Belgian government has implemented a number of targeted lockdowns and curfews. Experts fear a massive wave of coronavirus infections and deaths could soon overwhelm the country, with Belgium’s health minister saying it was already close to a point where authorities would lose all control over the spread of the virus.
Other European countries are also seeing a “fall surge” as the weather turns cooler. France is back to logging tens of thousands of new cases daily, with over 40,000 cases recorded in each of the last two days. The Czech Republic, once praised for its results in battling the pandemic, has seen months of effort wrecked, as its total cases have exploded from 14,800 just three months ago to nearly 260,000 today.
In the United States, Friday and Saturday saw record numbers of new cases emerge, with some 84,000 on Friday – an all-time high – followed by 79,000 on Saturday. With less than two weeks to go until the closely watched November 3 presidential election, total Covid-19 cases in the US are approaching 9 million, with some 230,000 now dead. The pandemic, along with the Trump administration’s disastrous response, is unsurprisingly a key focus of the election, and voter turnout is expected to be very high.
Worldwide, over 43 million cases of Covid-19 have been logged, with actual numbers certainly much higher. The official death toll now stands at 1.16 million, with well over half of those deaths in just five countries (the US, Brazil, India, Mexico, and the UK).
Here in Malaysia, embattled Prime Minister Muhyiddin had sought to declare a state of emergency, a move that many critics contended was politically motivated. However, after conferring with the Malay rulers in the nine states which have them, Malaysia’s king, Sultan Abdullah, declared that there was no valid reason to declare an emergency in the country and dismissed the PM’s request. Now, reports are emerging that Muhyiddin is considering resignation in the wake of the failed bid to declare a state of emergency.
The total number of cases in Malaysia now stands at 26,565, with 229 fatalities. Following the record number of new cases logged on Saturday, 829 were recorded on Sunday, October 25.
Experts continue to advise that face coverings, when worn by nearly everyone, are highly effective in helping to combat the spread of the virus within a given population. Hand washing and social distancing also significantly impede transmission. So there’s nothing new here, just an urgent reminder to continue doing these three things.
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