KUALA LUMPUR, April 1 (Xinhua) -- Malaysia reported 1,178 new COVID-19 infections, the Health Ministry said on Thursday, bringing the national total to 346,678.
Health Ministry Director-General Noor Hisham Abdullah said in a press statement that 20 of the new cases were imported and 1,158 were local transmissions.
The official added that the COVID-19 variant first found in South Africa has been detected in the country, with several cases identified.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the 501 Y.V2 variant that was initially discovered in South Africa is behind the unprecedented spike in infections in that country.
The highly transmissible COVID-19 strain has also been identified in Botswana, Ghana, Kenya, Zambia.
Six more deaths have been reported, bringing the death toll to 1,278. Another 1,377 patients have been released after recovery, bringing the total number of cured and discharged to 331,001 or 95.5 percent of all cases.
Of the remaining 14,399 active cases, 163 are being held in intensive care and 81 of those are in need of assisted breathing.
Separately, Health Minister Adham Baba said Malaysia will receive the COVID-19 vaccines developed by Chinese pharmaceutical firm CanSino Biologics in stages starting this month.