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Published: 10:48, September 19, 2021 | Updated: 23:02, September 19, 2021
Malaysia charts course for COVID-19 booster jabs
By Agencies
Published:10:48, September 19, 2021 Updated:23:02, September 19, 2021 By Agencies

People wait to receive COVID-19 vaccines in Klang, Selongor, Malaysia, Sept 12, 2021. (CHONG VOON CHUNG / XINHUA)

ULAN BATOR / BANGKOK / SUVA / COLOMBO / DHAKA / JAKARTA / TEHRAN / HANOI / BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN / YANGON / JERUSALEM / ANKARA / SINGAPORE / CANBERRA / NEW DELHI / VIENTIANE / KUALA LUMPUR / ISLAMABAD / MANILA  / BANGKOK / KATHMANDU - Malaysia will offer booster shots to high-risk individuals including frontline heath workers and elderly with comorbidities, when immunization coverage of the nation’s adult population exceeds 80 percent, Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob said in a statement on Sunday.

A panel of healthcare and medical experts is preparing guidelines on the implementation of the booster shot program and more details will be announced by the health ministry, he said.

As of Saturday, more than 78 percent of the country’s adult population have been fully vaccinated, putting Malaysia on course to achieve the 80 percent herd immunity level, according to Science Minister Adham Baba

Malaysia reported another 15,549 new COVID-19 infections as of midnight Saturday, bringing the national total to 2,082,876, according to the health ministry.

Five of the new cases are imported and 15,544 are local transmissions, data released on the ministry's website showed.

Another 324 more deaths have been reported, bringing the death toll to 23,067.

People walk past a sign encouraging people to get vaccinated in Melbourne on Aug 31, 2021 as the city experiences it's sixth lockdown as it battles an outbreak of the Delta variant of coronavirus. (WILLIAM WEST / AFP)


The head of Australia's coronavirus task force has praised the COVID-19 vaccine uptake as the country continues to battle the third wave of infections.

Lieutenant General John Frewen, the National COVID-19 Taskforce Coordinator, said that Australia is setting new COVID-19 vaccination records "almost every day" as the rollout continues to accelerate.

"As of Saturday, our first-dose nationwide vaccination rate was 71.2 percent and for second doses it was 46.2 percent. Approximately 24.3 million vaccine doses had been administered across the country," he wrote in a column for News Corp Australia on Sunday.

On Sunday morning, there were more than 1,600 new locally acquired cases of COVID-19 reported across Australia.

New South Wales (NSW), Australia's most populous state with Sydney as the capital city, reported 1,083 new cases and 13 deaths.

Victoria, the second-most populous state with Melbourne as the capital city, reported a further 507 new local cases.

The Australian Capital Territory (ACT) recorded 17 new cases on Sunday, taking the number of active cases in the nation's capital to 242.

Melbourne will exit its sixth lockdown since the pandemic began once 70 percent of Australia’s Victoria state is fully vaccinated, authorities said Sunday as they outlined plans to unwind virus measures next month.

In neighboring New South Wales state, restrictions will ease in some parts of Sydney from Monday. 

A Rohingya refugee gets vaccinated against COVID-19 in Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh on Aug 10, 2021. (SHAFIQUR RAHMAN / AP)


Bangladesh on Saturday received another 5 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine developed by China's pharmaceutical Sinopharm Group.

A plane of Biman Bangladesh Airlines carrying the Chinese vaccine doses landed at the Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport at around 2:00 am local time Saturday, Health Ministry spokesman Maidul Islam Prodhan told reporters.

Abu Zaher, chief health coordinator at Bangladesh's Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, received the consignment at the airport.

Earlier on Sept 11, 5.4 million doses of the Sinopharm vaccine arrived in Dhaka from China.


Brunei reported 143 new COVID-19 cases on Saturday, bringing the national tally to 4,957.

According to the Ministry of Health, all the new cases are local infections.

While the source of infection of 85 local cases is still under investigation, two new clusters have been detected and one cluster has been closed with no new cases in the cluster for 28 days, which brought the total number of active clusters to 89.


Fiji's Ministry of Health and Medical Services reported 79 new cases of COVID-19 and zero deaths on Sunday.

Permanent secretary for Health James Fong said 35 cases were from the Western Division and 44 cases from the Central Division of Viti Levu.

A total of 82 new recoveries were also reported, taking the number of active cases to 12,981.

So far, Fiji has reported 49,959 cases, 36,011 recoveries and 566 deaths, Fong said.

A total of 587,948 adults in Fiji have received their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and 387,320 have received two doses.  

ALSO READ: M'sia holiday hotspot readies for reopening with tourism bubble


India on Sunday reported 30,773 new coronavirus infections in the past 24 hours, taking the total to 33.4 million, as it seeks to reopen the country to overseas tourists.

The death toll rose by 309 to 444,838, the health ministry said.

India, which has so far administered 804.3 million vaccine doses, is looking to protect the population and welcome back tourists, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Saturday.

"India's vaccination drive is not just a safety cover for health but is also a protective shield for livelihood," Modi told health workers in the tourist state of Goa via video.

"Friends, there's been very little talk about this, but India has given a lot of priority to its vaccination program in states whose economies are driven by the tourism sector."


The number of COVID-19 cases in Indonesia rose by 2,234 within one day to 4,190,763, the country's Health Ministry said on Sunday.

The death toll rose by 145 to 140,468 while the number of recoveries increased by 6,186 to 3,989,326, the ministry said.

To date, at least 45.13 million people in the country have received two dose of COVID-19 vaccines while 79.51 million have taken their first dose, the ministry added.


Iran's health ministry on Saturday reported 12,847 new COVID-19 cases, taking the country's total infections to 5,408,860.

The pandemic has so far claimed 116,791 lives in the country, after 355 new deaths were registered in the past 24 hours, according to the update by Iran's Ministry of Health and Medical Education.

A medic from Israel's Magen David Adom emergency service administers a Pfizer coronavirus vaccine at a school in Holon, Israel on Sept 3, 2021. (TSAFRIR ABAYOV / AP)


Israel on Sunday reported 7,445 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the tally to 1,221,713.

The death toll rose by four to 7,511 while the number of recoveries increased by 3,053 to 1,130,393, the authorities.

Over 6.06 million people, or 64.5 percent of the total population, have received their first COVID-19 dose. More than 5.57 million people have gotten two doses and over 3.04 million have received three jabs, according to the authorities.

Israel on Sunday allowed foreign tourist groups to enter the country again, the  Ministry of Tourism said.

The entry is limited to tourist groups only from countries without high COVID-19 morbidity, the ministry said, adding that all tourists in the groups must be vaccinated with three doses, or with the second dose given in the last six months.


Lao capital Vientiane's administration has imposed a ban on all travels to and from Vientiane and within four major districts of the capital city from Sunday to Sept 30, 2021.

The four prohibited districts are Chanthaboury, Sisattanak, Sikhottabong and Xaysettha. Travels to particular areas in other three districts namely Xaythany, Hadxayfong and Naxaythong in the Lao capital were also prohibited.

The move came after Vientiane witnessed a rocket surge in community cases on Saturday, when the National Taskforce Committee for COVID-19 Prevention and Control announced that 467 new cases had been recorded nationwide over the past 24 hours including 384 locally transmitted cases with 265 reported in Vientiane, the highest daily community infection ever recorded in the capital city.

More than 90 percent of the local cases in Vientiane were linked to a garment factory in Chanthaboury district. Up to 260 out of more than 1,000 workers employed by the factory were confirmed positive to COVID-19 on Saturday.

According to Lao News Agency (KPL), as of Saturday, the country has recorded a total of 18,814 confirmed cases of COVID-19, including 3,665 active cases and 16 deaths.


Mongolia reported 2,777 new COVID-19 infections over the past 24 hours, taking the national tally to 275,146, the country's health ministry said on Sunday


Myanmar reported 1,702 new COVID-19 cases in the past 24 hours, bringing the tally to 446,573 as of Sunday, according to a release from the Ministry of Health.

The death toll  increased by 57 to 17,073, according to the release.

Over 3.47 million people have been fully vaccinated nationwide, while over 2.05 million people have received the first dose as of Saturday, according to the release.


Nepal has received all 6 million doses of COVID-19 the government purchased from China in August following the arrival of the latest consignment on Friday, local media reported.

According to the Kathmandu Post, a consignment of 4.4 million doses of vaccines arrived in the capital city of Kathmandu Friday afternoon. Sagar Dahal, chief of the National Immunisation Programme under the Ministry of Health and Population, confirmed the arrival of the Chinese vaccines.

Figures from the ministry showed that the country has received 17.85 million shots from several countries.

"In line with the availability, we have inoculated the largest number of people with Chinese made Vero Cell vaccine," Dahal told Xinhua on Sunday.

"There is hardly any complaint about the side effects of the Chinese vaccine," he said. "There is also widespread acceptability of this vaccine among the Nepali population."

New Zealand

New Zealand reported 24 new locally acquired coronavirus cases on Sunday, up from 20 on Saturday, showing an upturn after several days of lower numbers, as the country's largest city Auckland awaits to hear if its lockdown restrictions will ease.

All of the new cases have been reported in greater Auckland, a city of about 1.7 million people which has been in a full level 4 lockdown since mid-August.

The government of Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is to announce on Monday whether the alert levels for Auckland and rest of the country will be changed.

Until the weekend, New Zealand was on a path to eliminate the latest outbreak, which began in mid-August and has infected 1,050 people with the highly transmissible Delta variant of the coronavirus.


Pakistan reported 2,580 new COVID-19 cases over the last 24 hours, the National Command and Operation Center (NCOC) said on Sunday.

The NCOC, a department leading Pakistan's campaign against the pandemic, said that the country's total cases have risen to 1,223,841, including 1,132,726 recoveries.

According to the NCOC, the pandemic killed 71 people over the last 24 hours, increasing the overall death toll to 27,206.

People cross a road along the Orchard Road shopping district in Singapore on Sept 7, 2021. (ROSLAN RAHMAN / AFP)


Singapore's health ministry reported 1,009 new COVID-19 cases on Saturday, the highest since April last year when the city-state imposed a lockdown.

A recent rise in cases after the relaxation of some COVID-19 measures has prompted Singapore to pause further reopening. 

The bulk of the cases were infections within the local community, with five detected in those arriving from overseas.

A total of 863 people were hospitalized, and 18 in ICU, the Health Ministry said.

It also announced its 60th death - an unvaccinated 90-year-old man who had a history of cancer, heart disease and pneumonia. A total of 82 percent of the population have been fully-vaccinated and it’s starting to offer booster shots to those over 60, as well as immunocompromised patients.

ALSO READ: Singapore begins COVID-19 vaccine booster program

Sri Lanka

Sri Lankan authorities on Saturday received 4 million doses of Sinopharm vaccines shipped from China as a mass scale vaccination program against the COVID-19 is presently underway in the country.

The vaccines arrived at Colombo's Bandaranaike International Airport onboard two Sri Lankan Airlines flights from Beijing, capital of China.

Officials said the consignment was taken to the State Pharmaceuticals Corporation (SPC)'s main warehouse complex by vehicles with freezer facilities.

The Chinese Embassy in Colombo said that the arrival of this consignment of vaccines was the final batch in the contract signed by Sri Lanka's SPC and with this, 26 million Sinopharm vaccines have arrived in Sri Lanka to date.

This has supported more than 80 percent of Sri Lanka's vaccination drive, the Chinese Embassy said.

A mobile phone case vendor wearing a protective mask to help curb the spread of the coronavirus waits for customers in Bangkok, Thailand, Sept 14, 2021. (SAKCHAI LALIT / AP)


Thailand reported 13,576 new COVID-19 cases and 117 more fatalities on Sunday, with the daily fatalities falling for the third day in a row, according to the Center for COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA).

The new cases brought the tally to more than 1.47 million and the toll to 15,363, according to the CCSA.

The capital city of Bangkok led in new infections with 2,880 cases detected in the last 24 hours, followed by neighboring Samut Prakan with 1,030, and Chonburi with 926.

As of Saturday, Thailand has administered more than 44.48 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, with about 20.8 percent of its total population fully vaccinated, according to the CCSA.

ALSO READ: New South Wales, premier in uphill battle against rising virus cases

The Philippines

The Philippines' Department of Health (DOH) reported 19,271 new infections of COVID-19 on Sunday, bringing the total number of confirmed cases in the Southeast Asian country to 2,366,749.

The DOH also reported 205 new deaths from the pandemic, raising the  coronavirus-related death toll to 36,788.

The DOH said at least 24,686 medical frontline workers, largely nurses and physicians, contracted the virus.

Also on Sunday, China delivered an additional batch of Sinovac COVID-19 vaccines to the Philippines to support the Southeast Asian country's vaccination campaign.

The Philippines has administered over 40.5 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines and nearly 18 million people have been fully vaccinated. 


Turkey on Saturday confirmed 26,161 new COVID-19 cases, raising its tally of infections to 6,820,861, according to its health ministry.

The death toll from the virus in Turkey rose by 221 to 61,361, while 24,023 more people recovered in the last 24 hours.


The United Arab Emirates reported fewer than 400 coronavirus cases for the first time in more than a year, with just two weeks to go for Dubai Expo - the biggest in-person event since the pandemic began. 

The Gulf nation reported 391 cases on Sunday. Infections have been dropping steadily in the country, which has rolled out one of the fastest vaccination campaigns in the world. 

Abu Dhabi on Sunday abolished a requirement for visitors coming from other parts of the country to show a COVID-19 negative test as infection rate in the UAE capital fell to 0.2 percent of total tests.

The decline in cases will come as a boost for Dubai, one of the UAE’s seven emirates, as it gears up to host the Expo event that starts in October. The exhibition is expected to attract 25 million visits over six months.

Visitors to the event will now be required to provide vaccination certificates or get tested to enter the event, under new rules issued days after organizers said inoculations weren’t needed.


Vietnam reported 10,040 new COVID-19 cases on Sunday, including 10,025 locally transmitted and 15 imported, according to the country's Ministry of Health.

The new infections brought the country's tally to 687,063, along with 17,090 deaths and 457,505 recoveries, the ministry said.

Over 34 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been administered nationwide, according to the ministry.

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