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Health News

Malaysia reports sharpest spike in new coronavirus cases in three months

FILE PHOTO: Passengers wearing protective masks wait in line at a bus station, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia August 11, 2020. REUTERS/Lim Huey Teng

KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) - Malaysia’s health authorities reported 62 new coronavirus cases on Monday, the sharpest spike since early June, just as the government began barring long-term immigration pass holders from countries with high infection numbers.

From Monday, Southeast Asia’s third-largest economy imposed a ban on pass holders from 23 countries that have reported more than 150,000 COVID-19 cases, in a bid to clamp down on imported cases. Countries on the ban list include the United States, Britain and France.

Of the total new cases reported on Monday, 50 were detected in an existing cluster in Sabah state on Malaysian Borneo, stemming from the detention of two undocumented migrants two weeks earlier, the health ministry said.

The others were detected in a new cluster in the northern state of Kedah and six arrivals from Turkey, Bangladesh, Indonesia and Egypt, the ministry said in a statement.

Monday’s new infections were the largest since June 4, when 277 cases and one death were reported.

Malaysia has so far avoided the kind of contagion seen in neighbors the Philippines and Indonesia, which have 238,727 and 196,989 cases respectively. Indonesia death toll of 8,130 is the region’s highest.

Malaysia currently has 9,459 confirmed coronavirus infections, of which 128 led to deaths.

Reporting by Joseph Sipalan; Editing by Martin Petty

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