Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah

WEEKLY ROUND-UP

KUALA LUMPUR: Starting with just three positive cases that were reported on Jan 25, Malaysia’s cumulative Covid-19 cases have now gone past the 51,000 mark while active cases have reached a new high of over 13,000.

Yesterday, 1,290 new cases were recorded, bringing the nation’s total Covid-19 infections to 51,680 and active cases to 13,222.

Throughout the week under review (Nov 14-19), except for Wednesday, daily new cases reported exceeded 1,000. On Saturday (Nov 14), there were 1,114 new infections, Sunday (1,208), Monday (1,103) and Tuesday (1,210). On Wednesday, 660 new cases were reported.

Globally, Malaysia is at the 84th spot among the list of countries hit by the Covid-19 pandemic. Singapore, with a total of 58,139 cases and 28 fatalities, occupies the 83rd spot.

In his media statement on Thursday, Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said five of the new cases reported on Thursday were imported. 

Sabah accounted for the highest number of new cases yesterday at 660, followed by Selangor at 407.

According to Dr Noor Hisham, 250 of the new cases reported in Sabah yesterday were from clusters involving temporary detention centres, lock-ups and prisons.

This week Sabah accounted for 391 new cases on Saturday, 381 (Sunday), 288 (Monday), 499 (Tuesday) and 387 (Wednesday).

The hike in new cases in Selangor yesterday is linked to the Teratai cluster (245 cases) and the new Kapas BJ cluster (55 cases). These two workplace clusters involve non-citizens.

The Teratai cluster was first reported on Nov 7 and it involves Klang, Kuala Selangor, Petaling and Hulu Langat in Selangor.

In Sabah, 269 or 20.9 percent of the new cases reported yesterday were linked to the Sandakan Prison cluster (218 cases), Matambai cluster (15), Tembok cluster (15), Kepayan Prison cluster (nine), Tawau Temporary Detention Centre (six), Benteng PK cluster (three), GK Tawau cluster (two) and Seberang Perai Prison cluster (one).

Meanwhile, the number of Covid-19 patients discharged from hospital remained high this week. Yesterday, there were 878 recoverees, bringing the total number of recovered cases to 38,132 (73.8 percent of total cases in the nation.)

Deaths and other cases

Four more deaths were reported yesterday and with this Malaysia’s Covid-19 death toll stands at 326 (0.6 percent of total cases).

On Wednesday, four fatalities were reported, Tuesday five, Monday four, Sunday three and Saturday two.

Twenty-three deaths reported between Nov 14 and Nov 19 occurred in Sabah. Perak reported four fatalities and Johor one during the same period.

Over the previous week (Nov 7-13), 25 deaths were reported, 22 of which occurred in Sabah and one each in Labuan, Perak and Kedah.

Currently, 110 Covid-19 patients are being treated at the intensive care unit with 37 of them requiring respiratory aid.

Emergency declared in Batu Sapi

Having learned a lesson from the sharp spike in Covid-19 cases after the Sabah state election on Sept 26, the Batu Sapi Parliamentary by-election scheduled for Dec 5 has been postponed.

The postponement was made possible following the proclamation of a state of emergency in Batu Sapi (in Sabah) by Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah.

The Sabah state election has been identified as the main factor that triggered the third wave of Covid-19 infections in Malaysia and the proclamation of emergency would prevent a fourth wave from erupting.

Senior Minister (Security) Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaacob, meanwhile, indicated that the Conditional Movement Control Order (CMCO) in some states may be lifted subject to the Ministry of Health’s risk assessment outcome. 

He said the situation in the states concerned is being assessed every two weeks. He added that MOH will present its findings, including case numbers, risk assessment and the likelihood of infection, at a special meeting today by the National Security Council.

The CMCO was enforced in the Klang Valley to curb the spread of the coronavirus following the third wave of infections that started on Sept 22.

The CMCO was extended to other states in the peninsula, except Perlis, Pahang and Kelantan, starting from Nov 9 up to Dec 6.

Dr Noor Hisham was earlier quoted as saying that the CMCO in several states could be lifted within two weeks if the infection curve is flattened.

MOH is targeting an R-naught (R0) value or infectivity rate of below 0.5. The R0 value currently stands at between 1.1 and 0.9.

Dr Noor Hisham said the targeted R0 value can be achieved by stepping up public health activities to prevent and control infections.

The R0 value at the onset of the third wave (Sept 22) was 2.2 and it declined to 1.5 within two weeks and now stood at 1.0. The decline in the R0 value can be attributed to the enforcement of CMCO in the affected states.

The R0 value refers to the infectivity of a virus at the start of an outbreak within a community. Maintaining the R0 value below 1.0 will help in efforts to break the chain of Covid-19 infections in Malaysia.

Status on covid-19 cases, new clusters

According to the breakdown of yesterday’s new cases, Sabah accounted for the highest number at 660 with 418 of them arising from clusters.

Selangor reported 407 new cases, 361 of which were from clusters, including 55 from the new Kapas BJ cluster. The index case of this cluster is a factory worker.

Kuala Lumpur recorded 72 cases with 60 of them were from clusters, including 15 from the new Prestige cluster (involving the workers of a cleaning firm in Lembah Pantai and Titiwangsa districts).

Perak reported 48 cases, 37 of which were from clusters including two from the new Bah Bercham cluster. The index case of this cluster has a travel history to a high-risk area (Sabah).

Negeri Sembilan reported 32 cases, 26 of which were from existing clusters. Kelantan reported 17 cases with 15 from existing clusters.

Labuan recorded 15 cases; Johor 15 cases with 11 from clusters including eight from the new Kiambang cluster.

Penang reported eight cases, Sarawak eight, Kedah seven and Melaka one. – Bernama