World

Malaysia says no more fist bumps as infections soar

Of the 100 new cases, the highest daily rise in three months, 85 are local transmissions

KUALA LUMPUR : Malaysia reported another spike in Covid-19 cases yesterday. The Health Ministry said that of the 100 new cases, 85 were local transmissions with 15 imported.

There were 62 cases in Sabah and 23 in Kedah, the Malay Mail reported.

The infectivity rate, which stands at 1.72, has exceeded the critical mark of 1.6, Health Ministry director-general Noor Hisham Abdullah said.

This marks a massive change from two weeks ago, when the rate stood at 0.72, The New Straits Times reported.

Dr Noor Hisham said the jump was likely caused by people not following the standard operating procedures put in place to stem the outbreak.

The public were asked to avoid physical contact, including fist bumps as a form of greeting, as the daily number of cases in the country climbed to a three-month high.

But Dr Noor Hisham said any form of physical contact presents the risk of infection and reminded people to maintain a distance of at least 1m.

"This is why we're telling people not to fist bump," he told reporters.

Malaysia has recorded 9,559 infections and 128 deaths.

INDONESIA

In Indonesia, the authorities in Probolinggo, East Java, have come up with a novel way to ensure people wear masks.

They ordered dozens of people to get into a hearse containing a casket used for transporting Covid-19 patients' bodies, after they were caught not wearing a mask, the Jakarta Post reported.

Some 50 sellers and customers at Maron Market took turns to stay in the vehicle for several minutes on Monday as a social punishment.

Indonesia reported 3,046 cases yesterday, bringing its total to 200,035, Reuters reported.

There were also 100 deaths, taking the toll to 8,230, the highest in South-east Asia.

The Philippines reported 3,281 cases and 26 deaths.

Its total cases stand at 241,987 and deaths at 3,916.

India recorded its highest daily deaths in more than a month yesterday, even as new infections slowed.

The Health Ministry said 1,133 people had died in 24 hours, the highest since July, taking total deaths to 72,775.

But new daily cases were at 75,809, the lowest in a week, Reuters reported.

India surpassed Brazil on Monday with the most cases outside of the United States with 4.28 million infections.

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