Malaysia has purchased more vaccines and aims to accelerate vaccination starting next month as the government struggles to curb a worsening coronavirus crisis
Science Minister Khairi Jamaluddin said the government had purchased an additional 12.8 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine, bringing the total to 44.8 million doses, enough to cover 70% of Malaysia’s population.
More than 11 million people, or about a third of the population, have registered for vaccination, but only 1.7 million have received at least one dose.
Khairi said the vaccines would be distributed over the next few months, allowing the government to increase vaccination to 150,000 per day starting in June.
Malaysia has also approved Synovac and AstraZeneca vaccines.
The ministry had earlier called for medical officers, dentists, nurses and technicians on Thursday to voluntarily help health workers in the fight against the epidemic.
Director General of Health Noor Hisham Abdullah, who has warned of further increase in cases, tweeted that there is a dire need of volunteers across the country.
Malaysia’s daily affairs have been on the rise since April and intensified after a month-long lockdown until 7 June after the festival of Muslim Eid. The surge, along with the increase in deaths, has affected the health system.
The ruler of a southern state echoed the call for complete lockout that would stop almost all economic activity. The government says that this could lead to economic disaster and instead has banned movement.
Thousands of people, including one of Malaysia’s best-known singers, have been fined for violating COVID-19 safety regulations. Local media said singer Sati Nurhaliza Tarudin and her husband were fined 10,000 ringgit ($ 2,417) last month for organizing a religious ceremony for their child.
Malaysia’s minister of Islamic affairs, as well as three Islamic campaigners, had allegedly violated the ban on inter-state travel to attend the ceremony.