Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah

BY MELATI MOHD ARIFF

This is a round-up of Covid-19 related matters in Malaysia and globally from May 16 up to 12.30pm yesterday. In Malaysia, case numbers have exceeded 7,000 and globally, the virus has infected more than five million people and caused over 300,000 deaths. More than 200 countries and territories are affected by the pandemic.

KUALA LUMPUR: A total of 5,796 or 82.11 percent of the 7,059 Covid-19 cases in Malaysia have recovered. No deaths were reported over the last two days.

Over the last 24 hours up to noon yesterday, 90 patients were discharged, which was the highest number recorded this week. Fifty new cases were reported, bringing the total number of active Covid-19 cases to 1,149.

Out of the 50 new cases, three were imported while the remaining were local transmissions.

Health director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah, at his daily media conference yesterday, said 41 out of the 47 local transmissions involved migrant workers, with 34 of them detected at the Bukit Jalil Immigration detention depot.

The new Bukit Jalil Immigration cluster comprises Myanmar, Indian, Sri Lankan, Bangladesh and Egyptian nationals who have been detained there even before the enforcement of the movement control order (MCO) on March 18.

Currently, 10 Covid-19 patients are being treated at intensive care units and seven of them require ventilator support.

On Saturday (May 16), only 17 new infections were recorded. The least number of such cases recorded since the MCO was enforced was 16 on May 12.

SOP COMPLIANCE DURING CMCO

With Hari Raya Aidilfitri just a couple of days away, the Muslim community has been repeatedly reminded to comply with the standard operating procedures (SOP) set by the government under the controlled MCO (CMCO) from May 4 to June 9.

Compliance is of utmost importance in order to break the chain of Covid-19 infections and prevent the emergence of a “Hari Raya cluster”. 

The SOPs, issued by the Ministry of Health (MOH), require members of the public to observe social distancing wash their hands with soap and water or use a sanitiser frequently and avoid gatherings.

The National Security Council and MOH have also issued several statements and reminders to the public to take note of the following:

  • Hari Raya visits are only allowed (within the same state) on the first day. The same rule applies to those celebrating Gawai in Sarawak and Kaamatan in Sabah at the end of this month. Only 20 people will be allowed to gather at a house at any one time, depending on the size of the residence to ensure social distancing.
  • Effective May 21, no more police permits were issued for interstate travel and there is a complete ban on such trips.
  • Starting yesterday, those caught travelling to other states will not only be ordered to turn back but will also be issued a compound.
  • On Wednesday (May 20), a total 2,412 vehicles were stopped from crossing into other states; on Tuesday 3,212 vehicles were stopped; and Monday 1,633 vehicles.
  • MOH said those making festive visits on the first day of Hari Raya must comply with the SOPs. It also advised people to stay away from red zones and celebrate in their own homes.
  • MOH also reminded the public to avoid the 3Cs namely crowded places, confined space and close conversations, and adhere to the 3Ws namely washing hands with soap and water frequently, wearing a face mask in public places and warning or reminder by MOH to avoid shaking hand or touching; observe ethics of coughing and sneezing; carry out disinfections; stay at home; and seek treatment if symptomatic.
  • Besides senior citizens, children and babies are also in the high-risk group. As of May 16, a total of 317 Covid-19 cases were detected among children aged below 12 but no deaths were reported.
  • Global statistics

According to statistics compiled by CoronaTracker (which cites figures from various agencies including WHO), the total number of Covid-19 cases worldwide at the time of writing this article stood at 5,194,210 and deaths 334,621. The total number of patients who have recovered from the disease stood at 2,081,504.  

Yesterday, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said over the past 24 hours a total of 106,000 new cases were reported worldwide, which incidentally is the highest number of cases reported in a single day since the outbreak started.

Its director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the agency was also worried about the hike in Covid-19 cases in medium- and low-income nations.

The United States continues to top the list of nations with the highest number of Covid-19 cases at 1,620,902 and a death toll of 96,354.

At the second spot now is Russia which has overtaken Spain. Russia’s cases spiked sharply to 317,554 from 242,271 a week ago, while its death tally rose to 3,099 from 2,212 last week.    

Next is Brazil which is the Covid-19 epicentre in Latin America. It saw an exponential increase with 310,921 cases and 20,082 deaths (190,137 cases and 13,240 deaths last week). Spain reported 280,117 cases and 27,940 fatalities.

Besides the above four nations, eight other countries have also recorded more than 100,000 Covid-19 cases.

They are the United Kingdom 250,908 (36,042 deaths), Italy 228,006 (32,486), France 181,826 (28,215), Germany 179,021 (8,309), Turkey 153,548 (4,249), Iran 129,341 (7,249), India 118,226 (3,584) and Peru 108,769 (3,148).

Meanwhile, China, where the Covid-19 outbreak was first reported at the end of December 2019, is now at the 13th spot with 82,971 cases and 4,634 fatalities.

As for Malaysia’s neighbours, Singapore has the highest number of cases at 29,812 (26,098 last week) and 23 deaths. Most of the cases involve work permit holders who stay at workers’ hostels.

Indonesia comes next with 20,162 cases (1,278 deaths), Philippines 13,434 (846), Thailand 3,037 (56), Vietnam 324 (0), Myanmar 199 (six), Brunei 141 (one), Cambodia 123 (0) and Laos 19 (0).

Other countries that have recorded substantial numbers of Covid-19 cases include:

Canada 81,324 cases (6,152 deaths), Saudi Arabia 65,077 (351), Mexico 59,567 (6,510), Chile 57,581 (589), Belgium 56,235 (9,186), Pakistan 48,091 (1,107), Holland 44,700 (5,775), Qatar 38,651 (17), Equador 35,306 (2,939) and Belarus 33,371 (185).

Covid-19 background

According to the WHO website, its China country office was informed of cases of pneumonia that were detected in Wuhan on Dec 31, 2019. On Jan 7, the Chinese authorities confirmed that the novel coronavirus can be transmitted from human to human.

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that cause illnesses ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-COV).

A study of the virus’ genetic sequence suggested similarities to that seen in snakes and bats. China health officials identified the Huanan Seafood Market in Wuhan as the source of the transmission of the coronavirus.

On Feb 11, WHO announced the official name of the virus, Covid-19, which is an acronym for coronavirus 2019 ― CO stands for corona, VI for virus and D for disease.

On Jan 30, WHO declared the coronavirus outbreak as a global emergency. By then, it had spread to 18 countries and caused 170 deaths. On March 11, Covid-19 was declared a pandemic by WHO.

WHO has described the Covid-19 outbreak as 10 times more dangerous than the A H1N1 Influenza, also known as Swine Flu.

Swine Flu, which occurred between January 2009 and August 2010, infected more than 1.6 million people and caused 18,449 fatalities.

The International Monetary Fund has warned that the global economic recession caused by the Covid-19 pandemic will be worse than the Great Depression of the 1930s. – Bernama