This is a round-up of Covid-19 related matters in Malaysia and globally from Dec 12 up to 12.30pm yesterday. In Malaysia, case numbers have exceeded 89,000.
BY MELATI MOHD ARIFF
KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia’s cumulative total of Covid-19 cases is nearing 90,000 due to the continuous emergence of workplace clusters, as well as new cases from existing active clusters.
Yesterday, 1,220 new infections were reported nationwide, bringing the total number of Covid-19 cases to 89,133 and active cases to 14,671.
Globally, in the list of nations affected by the pandemic, Malaysia now occupies the 79th spot while China – where the deadly coronavirus outbreak was first reported at end-2019 – is on the 80th spot with 86,789 cases. Neighbouring country Singapore is at the 86th spot with 58,377 cases.
For the record, four-figure daily new cases were reported throughout the week under review (Dec 12-17): 1,937 (Saturday Dec 12), 1,229 (Sunday), 1,371 (Monday), 1,772 (Tuesday), 1,295 (Wednesday) and 1,220 (Thursday).
The Ministry of Health (MOH) has linked the recent spike in cases in various states to large-scale screenings conducted by the Social Security Organisation or Socso, as well as employers in red zones beginning Dec 1.
Six states are involved in the screening exercises, namely Selangor, Penang, Negeri Sembilan, Sabah, Kuala Lumpur and Labuan.
Starting Dec 1, the screenings were carried out in phases in certain districts such as Klang and Seremban, and on Dec 9 in red zones in other districts in Selangor, Kuala Lumpur and Penang.
Starting Dec 16, the screenings were done state-wide in Sabah and Labuan, and other districts in Selangor, Penang and Negeri Sembilan.
According to MOH, several clusters involving foreign workers have been detected. These include the following construction site clusters: Rimbun (Negeri Sembilan), Cendana, Condong, Jalan Stadium, Laut, Matahari, Permai (Kuala Lumpur) and Jalan Bukit (Selangor).
Those who tested positive have been admitted to low-risk COVID-19 quarantine and treatment centres at Malaysian Agro Exposition Park Serdang in Selangor and Port Dickson Polytechnic in Negeri Sembilan, among others.
MOH expects the number of cases and new clusters to continue spiking in the coming weeks.
MOH reported three workplace clusters on Saturday, Dec 12 – one in Tawau (Sabah), one involving Lembah Pantai, Titiwangsa and Cheras (Kuala Lumpur) and one in Gombak (Selangor).
On Sunday, there were six new clusters, four of which were related to worksites: one was in Labuan; one in Seremban; one involving Sepang, Gombak, Kuala Selangor and Hulu Selangor; and one in Kuantan.
On Monday, two new worksite clusters were reported, one involving Sepang, Kuala Selangor, Gombak, Petaling and Hulu Selangor, while the second was in Kepong.
No new clusters were detected on Tuesday but existing active clusters reported new cases with Damanlela construction site cluster recording the highest number at 568, followed by Tembok cluster (99) and Rimbun construction site cluster (27).
The Damanlela construction site cluster was announced on Nov 7 and it involves Lembah Pantai, Kepong and Titiwangsa in Kuala Lumpur. As of yesterday, it has recorded a total of 2,552 cases.
On Wednesday, eight new clusters were announced, out of which four were related to worksites: Puncak Galaksi cluster involving Kuala Selangor and Klang (56 cases); Permai cluster involving three construction sites in Lembah Pantai (48 cases); Matahari construction site cluster in Titiwangsa (15 cases); and Laut construction site cluster involving Lembah Pantai, Cheras and Kepong (eight cases).
Yesterday, three new clusters were reported, one involving a construction site in Lembah Pantai – Pasific cluster which reported 17 cases.
As of yesterday, Malaysia has recorded 429 clusters. A total of 236 clusters have ended. Currently, 193 clusters are being monitored with 41 of them still reporting new cases, including Jalan Harapan Prison cluster, Jalan Rusa cluster and Bintang cluster.
Recoveries and deaths
As for this week’s daily recovered cases, mostly four-digit figures were reported. Yesterday, 1,297 patients were discharged, bringing the cumulative total of recovered cases to 74,030 (83.1 percent of total cases).
The breakdown is as follows: 1,309 cases (Sunday), 1,204 (Monday), 1,084 (Tuesday), 1,052 (Wednesday) and 1,297 (yesterday).
Three fatalities were reported yesterday, which brings Malaysia’s Covid-19 death toll to 432 (0.48 percent of total cases).
Following is the breakdown for this week’s death toll: Saturday nine cases, Sunday four, Monday four, Tuesday three, Wednesday seven and Thursday three.
As of yesterday, 106 patients were in the intensive care unit with 53 requiring respiratory aid.
Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah told a media conference on Wednesday that the Covid-19 infectivity rate (R-naught or R0 value) now stood at between 0.9 and 1.1.
He stressed that the value must drop to 0.5 or 0.3 in order to flatten the Covid-19 infection curve.
The R0 value refers to the infectivity of a virus at the start of an outbreak within the community.
Yesterday’s Covid-19 case details
According to the breakdown of new Covid-19 cases reported by MOH yesterday, Selangor accounted for the highest number at 368 with 94 of the cases from existing clusters; while Kuala Lumpur recorded 297 cases, 235 of which were from existing clusters and 62 from the new Jalan Rusa and Pasific construction site clusters.
Sabah recorded 184 cases, including one case from the new Maringkan cluster; Melaka recorded 98 new cases from existing clusters; and Penang 80 cases, out of which 53 were from existing clusters.
Johor recorded 67 cases, out of which 21 were from existing clusters; Perak 41 cases, 37 of which from existing clusters; Negeri Sembilan 33 cases, 17 from existing clusters; and Labuan 16 cases, with five from existing clusters.
Meanwhile, Kelantan had 10 cases; Kedah nine; Sarawak nine; Pahang four; Terengganu two; and Putrajaya two.
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 much 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