SINGAPORE – Malaysia’s daily Covid-19 cases are increasing rapidly and have outperformed India in one critical respect, according to statistics website Our World in Data.
India has been experiencing a devastating second wave since April and has the second largest Covid case load in the world. The country’s daily number of cases, while declining, has increased with hundreds of thousands of infections – far more than the few thousand per day in Malaysia.
But Malaysia’s daily Covid infections per million people – for seven days – have surpassed India’s since Sunday, data from Our World in Data showed. Latest statistics showed that Malaysia reported 194.4 cases per million people on a seven-day basis on Monday, compared with 178.04 cases in India.
Malaysia’s population of around 32 million is much smaller than India’s 1.4 billion.
In general, the actual number of Covid-19 cases is higher than the number of cases reported worldwide, mainly due to a lack of testing. In India, several studies found that cases were likely to be severely underreported.
However, it is not the first time that Malaysia has overtaken India in this measure. Our World in Data showed that Malaysia’s daily cases per million people between November 15 last year and March 27 this year were also higher than India’s.
Malaysia, a country in Southeast Asia, has been grappling with a surge in coronavirus cases since the last few months of 2020. The government has tightened restrictions several times since then, but stopped short of a full lockdown.
The country reported a record rise of 7,289 coronavirus cases on Tuesday, bringing cumulative infections to over 525,800 with over 2,300 deaths, data from the Department of Health showed. The ministry said there are currently more than 700 infected people in intensive care units.
Dr. Malaysia’s general manager of health, Noor Hisham Abdullah, said in a Twitter post Tuesday that the country’s daily Covid-19 cases “could follow an exponential trend” and spark a “vertical surge”.
Noor Hisham, a leader in Malaysia’s fight against Covid, also warned that “we must prepare for the worst” and urged people to stay home to break the chain of transmission.
The rapid increase is due to the fact that Malaysia – and many developing countries around the world – are struggling to secure supplies of Covid vaccines.
Malaysia has approved the use of Covid-19 vaccines developed by Pfizer-BioNTech, Oxford-AstraZeneca University and Chinese biotech company Sinovac. The government said it intends to vaccinate 80% of the population by the end of the year, but so far only about 5% have received at least one dose, data from Our World in Data showed.