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Malaysia locks down as vicious COVID wave fogs election timing

PM adds $9.7bn of stimulus while hospitals struggle to cope with bodies

A Muslim cleric and his team move the body of a coronavirus victim for burial on May 23.   © Reuters

KUALA LUMPUR -- A brutal wave of COVID-19 infections has pushed Malaysia back into "total lockdown" mode, effective Tuesday, prompting the government to unveil over $9 billion worth of extra stimulus and clouding the prospects for holding a long-anticipated election anytime soon.

The country has been under a coronavirus state of emergency, approved by the king, since Jan. 11, when it reported 2,486 new daily infections. Since then, the figure has nearly quadrupled, hitting a high of 9,020 on Saturday.

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