KUALA LUMPUR, June 21 (Xinhua) -- Malaysia reported another 4,611 new COVID-19 infections, bringing the national total to 701,019, the health ministry said on Monday.
Health Ministry Director-General Noor Hisham Abdullah said in a press statement that another 69 more deaths have been reported, bringing the death toll to 4,477.
The official added that there is a disturbing rise in the number of sporadic cases and symptomless cases in the Klang Valley area, which encompasses the capital city of Kuala Lumpur and part of the adjacent Selangor state.
Sporadic cases refer to cases which are not traced to existing case clusters, he said, warning that those without symptoms are still infectious.
Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Khairy Jamaluddin announced earlier in the day the start of phase 3 of the country's national COVID-19 immunization program covering people 18 years old and above, first to be implemented with Kuala Lumpur and Selangor state.
Khairy, who is also the coordinating minister for Malaysia's national COVID-19 immunization program, said the program had been expedited as almost all senior citizens in the area had either received their first dose or had been given vaccination appointments.
Malaysia's vaccination program to go through February 2022 will be conducted in three phases, with the first phase for frontline workers covering about half a million people, the second phase for high-risk groups and the third phase for adults aged 18 and above.
As of Sunday, some 4.2 million people or 12.9 percent of the total population have received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccines.