Coronavirus live news: Malaysia’s intensive care beds ‘are all full’, says health chief

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Intensive care beds for Covid patients in Malaysia have reached full capacity, according to the country’s health director general, who said the country’s pandemic remained at a critical level.

Malaysia entered a near total lockdown on 1 June, after daily cases rose to more than 9,000 last month. The increase in cases has been blamed on the more infectious variants of the virus, as well as gatherings held ahead of Eid al-Fitr.

Malaysia’s health director general, Noor Hisham Abdullah, said hospitals were facing a rise in severe cases of Covid, especially among older and clinically vulnerable people, who needed oxygen and respiratory assistance.

“These patients need a long recovery period to heal, due to serious complications from Covid-19,” he said.

The pressure placed on intensive care units, which are at 100% capacity, was very worrying, Noor Hisham said, adding some patients who needed critical care could not be placed in an ICU bed.

While new infections have fallen slightly over the past two weeks, there were still 82,797 active cases under treatment and observation as of 8 June.

Malaysia managed to contain the virus for much of 2020, and had recorded fewer than 500 fatalities by January. The country’s death toll has since risen to 3,536, while 627,652 cases have been recorded. Hospital morgues have been forced to use containers to cope with the rise in fatalities.

Malaysia imposed a national lockdown on 1 June, shutting schools and shopping malls. Only two people from each household are allowed to go out to buy essentials or seek medical treatment within 10km of their home. The manufacturing sector, however, has been allowed to continue operating at a reduced capacity.

Malaysia began its vaccination campaign in February, and 7.7% of the population has since received at least one dose

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