Malaysia reports 41 new cases of coronavirus, all linked to religious event

Reuters , Saturday 14 Mar 2020

Muslims wearing protective masks leave National Mosque after Friday prayers, following the coronavirus outbreak, in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, March 13, 2020. (REUTERS)

Malaysia reported 41 new coronavirus cases on Saturday, most linked to a religious event on the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur that was attended by about 10,000 people from several countries.

The new cases bring the total number of infected people in the Southeast Asian country to 238, the health ministry said in a statement.

A total of 81 cases in Malaysia have now been confirmed as linked to the same event held at a mosque between Feb. 27 and March 1.

Prime Minister Muyiddin Yassin said on Friday that the country was facing a "second wave" of infections, and warned of an impact on economic growth.

To contain the spread of the virus, all gatherings including international meetings, sports, social and religious events would be cancelled or postponed until after April, he said.

In neighbouring Brunei, 38 of the total 40 cases in the country had been linked to the religious gathering as of Saturday.

A total of 85 Bruneians attended the gathering, and 18 tested positive. The remainder of the 38 are their immediate family members, friends or co-workers, the health ministry said.

New cases in Brunei include a 9-month-old baby, the child of a man who attended the religious event.

The speaker of Brunei's legislative council called for the current session to end on Saturday, a week ahead of schedule and bringing an abrupt end to budget discussions, because of the coronavirus outbreak.

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