Malaysia has recorded its first two deaths due to the coronavirus or COVID-19 in Sarawak. The Sarawak State Disaster Management Committee secretariat confirmed on Tuesday, March 17 that a 60-year-old pastor from the Emmanuel Baptist Church in Kuching, passed away at the Sarawak Hospital at 11 am.
The second death reported in Malaysia was a 34-year-old man who had died at the Hospital Permai in Johor on Tuesday. He is said to have contracted the disease after attending a mass gathering by the Tabligh missionary group in February.
The State Health Department is said to be still in the process of identifying the source of his infection. The officials have identified 193 people who were in close contact with the deceased. They are being placed under quarantine.
Recently Sarawak has seen 45 Covid-19 cases in certain clusters including Sri Petaling Cluster, Kuching (Church) Cluster, Sarikei Cluster and another cluster in Kuching. The source of the infection from these clusters is yet to be identified.
Most of the cases in Malaysia is stemming from religious gatherings across the country. The estimates show that Malaysia has the largest number of cases in South-east Asia.
New measures to be implemented in the country
From Wednesday Malaysia is adopting several measures to curb the rising spread in the country. This includes a strict policy on the travel ban bringing the country into a semi-lockdown. Schools, universities and businesses would be shut. During the time period which is going to last till March 31, the citizens will not be permitted to travel overseas, and whoever is returning from abroad has to undergo examination and a mandatory 14-day quarantine.
Tourists will not be permitted to enter the country during this period. Some of the essential services like food stores, banks, pharmacies, and transport services will continue the functions.
The ban is coming after the country reported 125 new cases on Monday alone.
(This is a developing story and will be updated)