Malaysia is expecting the number of coronavirus or COVID-19 cases to surge in mid-April, as the health ministry stated on Saturday with the country ramping up testing amid nationwide lockdown.

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the country has almost doubled in the past week and the nation has imposed travel restrictions for curbing the movememnt of the people until April 14 trying to contain the spread of the virus.

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The country can expect a surge in cases by mid-April, Noor Hisham Abdullah, the director-general of health said, citing analysts' estimates of a peak between 6,300 and 8,900 cases. "If you can stay at home, break the chain of infection, then we might be able to beat the projections," Noor Hisham said. "If we can bring it below 5,000, we can achieve our goal."

Malaysia is considering buying up to 1 million coronavirus test kits from South Korea as it steps up efforts to screen more people for the virus. It plans to increase its diagnostic testing capacity to 16,500 cases a day by next week, from around 7,100 cases currently.

(With agency inputs)