Malaysia Reports First Coronavirus Deaths After Cases Spiked

Hadi Azmi and Yantoultra Ngui

(Bloomberg) --

Malaysia confirmed its first deaths from the new coronavirus after the country reported the highest number of infections in Southeast Asia.

A 60-year-old Malaysian man died in Kuching in the eastern state of Sarawak with authorities still identifying the source of his infection, according to a statement from the state government. That was followed by the death of a 34-year-old Malaysian man who was present at a religious gathering at a mosque near Kuala Lumpur, said Health Minister Adham Baba.

The spread of Covid-19, the disease caused by the virus, has picked up pace around the world with deaths reported in countries from Italy to the U.S. Malaysia has seen a second wave of infections in people without history of travel to China, where the virus first spread, with the number of confirmed cases in the Southeast Asian country surging to 673 as of Tuesday.

Malaysia has imposed nationwide restrictions on people’s movements and shut schools, shops and even some public services deemed non-essential in a bid to contain the pandemic.

The man from Sarawak had a history of chronic illness and started exhibiting symptoms of fever, cough and difficulty breathing on March 7, while the younger man started having symptoms on March 5 and was confirmed to have the virus a week later.

(Updates with a second death reported on Tuesday.)

--With assistance from Anuradha Raghu.

To contact the reporters on this story: Hadi Azmi in Kuala Lumpur at klnews@bloomberg.net;Yantoultra Ngui in Kuala Lumpur at yngui@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Yudith Ho at yho35@bloomberg.net, Liau Y-Sing

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