KUALA LUMPUR, March 12 (Xinhua) -- Malaysia on Thursday announced nine new cases of COVID-19, bringing the total number of cases to 158.
Another six patient had been declared cured and discharged, making for a total of 32 who have recovered in Malaysia, Health Ministry director-general Noor Hisham Abdullah said in a statement.
Three patients required respiratory assistance in intensive unites and are in stable condition, he added.
Noor Hisham said more measures on control and prevention would be implemented in response to the World Health Organization declaring COVID-19 to be a pandemic.
He also urged participants of a recent mass religious event to report to the local health authorities following participants being reported infected with COVID-19. The event, held from late February to early March outside the capital city of Kuala Lumpur, was reported to had some 10,000 participants.
Meanwhile, Health Minister Adham Baba confirmed Malaysia's first sporadic case of COVID-19. He explained that this meant the virus was detected in an isolated and specific cluster within the country that had not seen cases previously.
Adham said the new cases were part of a second wave, with the disease transmission occurring within the country rather than from individuals coming from abroad, adding that this could lead to a sudden spike in the number of cases in the country.
"This is because it is (a) second wave. First wave we could control, those bringing COVID-19 from overseas, we have controlled the spread."
"What has happened now is contacts within the country and spread from those infected. That is why in the country, sudden spike," he said.