Since 14 March, there has been a steady rise in the number of COVID-19 cases in Malaysia. As of today, 19 March, there are 790 cases.
Just yesterday, 18 March, a total of 117 new COVID-19 cases were recorded.
Almost all the new cases are linked to a cluster from the ijtimak tabligh gathering that was held at the Sri Petaling Jamek Mosque in Kuala Lumpur during the last week of February.
The religious gathering was attended by over 14,500 Malaysians out of the 16,000 total attendees from around the world, according to Health director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah.
While the situation here has not yet escalated, the current scenario has left "only a small window of opportunity" for us to stop the rapid spread of the coronavirus, according to the Health director-general
Dr Noor Hisham, who has been at the forefront of Malaysia's fight against COVID-19, took to his official Twitter last night to warn against "the third wave" being unleashed if we miss that window of opportunity.
His warning came after reports about Malaysians not adhering to the nationwide Restriction of Movement Order (RMO). In fact, an estimated 40% of the country did not comply with the RMO on its first day.
According to him, Malaysia might see the two-week-long RMO being extended if people continue to defy the order to stay home, which could result in a worsening situation here.
In fact, Malaysia's COVID-19 situation could become like Italy
The COVID-19 situation in Italy has deteriorated with an alarming rate.
According to the latest stats from the World Health Organisation (WHO), the death toll in Italy has almost touched the 3,000 mark with an 8.34% mortality rate that's much higher than China.
In Italy, the number of total cases was reported at 35,713, out of which 2,978 have died and 4,025 have recovered. The total number of active cases there currently stands at 28,710.
Dr Noor Hisham highlighted that a similar situation could unfold here given how the trajectory of the new cases in Malaysia follows how the disease spread in the worst-hit European country.
He shared this infographic showing the steady rise in numbers between the two countries:
And last night, Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin, too, warned about extending the RMO period if people are not isolating themselves:
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