1st LD Writethru: COVID-19 death toll in Malaysia rises to 8, 153 new cases reported

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KUALA LUMPUR, March 21 (Xinhua) -- Eight individuals have died of the COVID-19 in Malaysia, with 153 newly confirmed cases, and the total cases of the COVID-19 in the country now stand at 1,183, according to the Health Ministry on Saturday.

The fourth fatality was a 50-year-old Malaysian man who had attended a large scale religious event held near the capital of Kuala Lumpur from late February to early March, Health Ministry Director-General Noor Hisham Abdullah told a press briefing.

Noor Hisham announced four more COVID-19 deaths, with two from Malaysia's Sarawak state as well as two more cases linked to the religions event.

Noor Hisham said of the new cases, at least 90 were traced to the same event.

Out of the total cases, 114 have been cured and discharged from hospital, while 37 are currently being held in intensive care and 23 of those are in need of assisted breathing.

He said the ministry is still working to trace those who have attended the religious event, which saw a gathering of thousands of participants from across the country and around the world. The number of cases in the country has spiked following the event.

Malaysia is implementing a two-week "movement control order" including closing shops and schools as well as imposing travel bans. It called for residents to stay at home in an effort to contain the COVID-19 outbreak.

Noor Hisham said the aim of the measures is to "flatten the curve" of the increased cases to prevent the country's health system from being overwhelmed. Enditem

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