KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) - The number of coronavirus cases in Malaysia is expected to peak in mid-April and there are signs of a flattening of the infection curve, the World Health Organization said on Thursday, as curbs on travel and movement help curtail the spread.
Malaysia has the highest number of known infections in Southeast Asia with 3,116 confirmed cases, including 208 reported on Thursday in the biggest daily increase in a week.
"Based on available data, the WHO Country Office has projected that Malaysia will see a peak in hospitalised cases in mid-April," Ying-Ru Lo, the WHO's head of mission and representative to Malaysia, Brunei and Singapore told Reuters in emailed comments.
The number of critically ill patients is estimated to reach the peak within the next week, she said, adding that the WHO projections could change.
"There are initial signs of flattening of the curve, but this could bounce back if control measures are lifted and if people don't continue to take protective measures," Lo said.
Lo added that data on new infections so far and additional surveillance measures did not suggest widespread community transmission in the country.
Currently there are 105 coronavirus patients in intensive care across Malaysia. There have been a total of 50 deaths, with 5 reported on Thursday.
Malaysia expects to slow the rate of new infections by the first or second week of April, Health Ministry Director General Noor Hisham Abdullah said on Thursday.
Malaysia has ramped up its diagnostic testing capacity in recent days, testing over 7,000 a day from last week's 3,500.
Selangor state, on the west coast of Penisular Malaysia, has the most number of cases with over 700, though many other states have hundreds of cases too.
Interactive graphic tracking global spread of coronavirus: open https://tmsnrt.rs/3aIRuz7 in an external browser.
(Reporting by A. Ananthalakshmi and Mei Mei Chu; Editing by Stephen Coates and Simon Cameron-Moore)