Malaysia's deputy health minister fined $325 for breaching virus curbs
He was pictured having a meal at an Islamic school in Perak despite coronavirus restrictions
Malaysia's Deputy Health Minister Noor Azmi Ghazali and Perak executive council member Razman Zakaria have pleaded guilty to breaching the movement control order (MCO).
The duo were jointly charged with 13 others at the Magistrate's Court yesterday, after they were all pictured having a meal at a tahfiz Islamic school in Lenggong, Perak, on April 18.
They ordered the men to pay a RM1,000 (S$325) fine, and in default,go to jail for a month if they failed to pay the fine.
The men were charged under rule 6(1) of the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases (Measures Within the Infected Local Areas) Regulations 2020.
According to the charge sheet, the men were found at an infected area for social purposes.
Mr Noor Azmi and Mr Razman were visiting the Lenggong Health Clinic to check on preparations of the Hulu Perak district health office to control the Covid-19 outbreak before visiting the school to perform Asar prayers, then sitting down to have a meal.
The photos were uploaded on Mr Noor Azmi's Facebook page, but were later deleted after drawing heavy criticism. When asked to comment, Mr Noor Azmi promised to do better.
"I would like to humbly offer my sincere apologies and thank those who have supported me.
"I will obey the law and the jurisdiction of this country. I will perform better to provide only the best health for Malaysians," he said.
Malaysian health authorities yesterday reported 31 new cases, raising the country's cumulative total to 5,851.
The health ministry also reported one new death, bringing total fatalities to 100.
In the rest of South-east Asia, Indonesia confirmed 415 new infections, taking its total to 9,511.
Health ministry official Achmad Yurianto also reported eight new deaths, taking the total number of fatalities to 773.
But more than 2,200 Indonesians have died with acute symptoms of Covid-19 but were not recorded as victims, a Reuters review of data from 16 of the country's 34 provinces showed.
Three medical experts said the figures indicated the national death toll was likely to be much higher than the official figure.
LOWEST TESTING RATE
Indonesia has one of the lowest testing rates in the world and some epidemiologists say that has made it harder to get an accurate picture of the extent of infections in the world's fourth most populous country.
A senior member of the government's Covid-19 taskforce, Prof Wiku Adisasmito, did not dispute the Reuters findings but declined to comment.
Thailand reported seven new infections and two more deaths for a tally of 2,938 cases and 54 deaths since the outbreak began in January.
Authorities in Bangkok plan to lift curbs over the next few days or weeks for some businesses, ranging from restaurants and hair salons to pet groomers, a city official said yesterday, as the pace of new infections slows.
The re-opening date was not clear as details remain to be worked out, but it will be announced today, a civic administration spokesman said.
The Philippines' health ministry reported 19 more deaths and 181 infections.
It said total deaths have increased to 530 while confirmed cases have risen to 7,958. - THE STAR, REUTERS