India is experiencing a second devastating wave since April and has the second highest number of Covid cases in the world. The daily number of cases in the country, although trending downwards, remained high at hundreds of thousands of infections – far exceeding Malaysia’s few thousand a day.
But Malaysia’s daily Covid infections per million population – on a seven-day rolling basis – have surpassed India’s since Sunday, according to data compiled by Our World in Data. The latest statistics show Malaysia reported 194.4 cases per million population on a seven-day rolling 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.
Still, this is not the first time Malaysia has overtaken India on the measure. Our World in Data showed that Malaysia’s daily cases per million population were also higher than India’s between November 15 last year and March 27 this year.
Malaysia, a country in Southeast Asia, has been grappling with a surge in coronavirus cases since the latter months of 2020. The government has since tightened restrictions on several occasions, but halted before a full lockdown .
The country reported a record increase of 7,289 coronavirus cases on Tuesday, bringing cumulative infections to more than 525,800 with more than 2,300 deaths, according to data from the Ministry of Health. More than 700 infected people are currently in intensive care units, the ministry said.
Malaysia’s director general of health, Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah, said in a Twitter post on Tuesday that daily Covid-19 cases in the country are “on an exponential trend” and could trigger a “vertical surge”.
Noor Hisham, a leading figure in Malaysia’s fight against Covid, also warned that “we must prepare for the worst” and urged people to stay at home to break the chain of transmission.
The rapid increase has come as Malaysia – and many developing countries around the world – struggles to secure the supply of Covid vaccines.
Malaysia has approved the use of Covid-19 vaccines developed by Pfizer-BioNTech, University of Oxford-AstraZeneca and Chinese biotech company Sinovac. The government has said it aims to vaccinate 80% of the population by the end of the year, but only around 5% have received at least one dose so far, according to data compiled by Our World in Data .