Following a spike in overall infections that pushed the Southeast Asian nation into a stringent lockdown, Malaysian health officials have expressed alarm over an increasing number of coronavirus deaths and critical cases involving children.
Daily COVID-19 cases and deaths exceeded record highs, prompting Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin to proclaim a two-week “complete lockdown” from June 1-14, with the authorities warning that the outbreak could be related to more contagious variations.
According to Malaysia’s Health Ministry director-general Noor Hisham Abdullah, three children under the age of five died from the coronavirus in the first five months of this year, the same number as in all of 2020.
Between January and May, a total of 27 children, including 19 under the age of five, were hospitalized in intensive care after getting the virus, up from eight cases last year. In a statement, Noor Hisham stated, “The health ministry wishes that all parties, particularly parents and guardians, play a significant role in safeguarding people with poor immunity, such as babies and children, from COVID-19.”
Noor Hisham did not specify how many children had been tested for COVID-19 or whether authorities intended to increase testing among kids. Last month, Singapore issued a warning that novel coronavirus strains, such as the one first discovered in India, were infecting an increasing number of children.
Malaysian Health Minister Adham Baba stated on Monday that the coronavirus has infected 82,341 children between January last year and May 30 this year. On Friday, Malaysia’s overall caseload surpassed 600,000, making it the third-largest in the region behind Indonesia and the Philippines.
On Saturday, it experienced a daily increase of 9,020 cases, and on Wednesday, it recorded its highest daily death count of 126. The government may explore making vaccination mandatory to meet a target of vaccinating 80 percent of Malaysia’s 32 million people, according to state newswire Bernama, and legal action against anti-vaxxers may be considered.
“I’m hoping that immunizations can be completed sooner rather than later. What matters is that no one tells you not to be vaccinated “he stated. According to the health ministry, about 2.2 million people have got at least one vaccine dosage as of Friday.