KUALA LUMPUR, March 26 (Xinhua) -- Malaysia is grappling with a rapid increase of COVID-19 cases in the country as the total number exceeded 2,000 on Thursday with 23 deaths.
Some 235 new cases were confirmed on Thursday, the largest daily jump in Malaysia so far, bringing the total number to 2,031, said the Malaysian Health Ministry.
Health Ministry Director-General Noor Hisham Abdullah told a press briefing that among the new cases, at least 60 were traced to a large-scale religious event held near the capital of Kuala Lumpur from late February to early March. The number of cases in the country has spiked following the event.
Out of the total cases, 215 have been cured and discharged from hospitals, while 45 are currently being held in intensive care and 32 of those are in need of assisted breathing.
The national palace said on Thursday that Malaysian King Sultan Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah and his wife are undergoing a 14-day quarantine after several palace employees were infected with COVID-19.
The couple had themselves tested negative for the virus but proceeded with self-quarantine, the palace said.
Malaysia is implementing a "movement control order" including closing shops and schools as well as imposing travel bans till April 14. It called on residents to stay at home in an effort to contain the COVID-19 outbreak.
Earlier, former Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said via social media that he had been observing a 14-day quarantine after contact with a member of parliament who later tested positive for the disease. Local media reported that the 94-year-old former prime minister had been cleared by health authorities after testing negative.
As confirmed cases in Malaysia continued to rise, the Chinese government and companies have stepped up effort to provide assistance.
Medical supplies including face masks, test kits, protective suits and face shields, which were donated by the Jack Ma Foundation and the Alibaba Foundation, arrived in Malaysia and were handed over to the Malaysian government on Thursday.
These supplies came after previous donations were made by multiple Chinese companies in Malaysia.
Beside supplies, Chinese experts are also sharing expertise on COVID-19 with their Malaysian counterparts.
In a video-teleconference on Thursday, Shen Yinzhong and Qiu Zhongmin, two leading experts in dealing with the COVID-19 in Shanghai, shared their experiences on medications, treatments, and diagnostics among others, in a 90-minute session with dozens of doctors and experts from Malaysian hospitals and institutions.
"I believe this session will facilitate the exchange of experiences and ideas in managing COVID-19 patients," said Hishamshah Mohamad Ibrahim, deputy director general of Malaysia's health Ministry at the beginning of the teleconference.
Chinese ambassador to Malaysia Bai Tian said his country is willing to help Malaysia in the fight against the COVID-19.
"As a friend of Malaysia, China is very much concerned about the COVID-19 situation in Malaysia. We understand your circumstances, we feel what you feel and we want to come to your help and assistance," he said.