Covid-19 weekly round-up: Malaysia heading towards zero new cases

TheEdge Fri, Jun 26, 2020 02:46pm - 2 years View Original

This is a round-up of Covid-19 related matters in Malaysia and globally from June 20 up to 12.30pm today. In Malaysia, case numbers have exceeded 8,000 and globally, the virus has infected more than nine million people and caused over 450,000 deaths. More than 200 countries and territories are affected by the pandemic.

KUALA LUMPUR (June 26): The Ministry of Health’s projections of zero new Covid-19 positive cases by mid-July are certainly not off the mark as local transmissions have been brought well under control of late.

New cases reported daily have dwindled to single-digit figures, recoveries have continued to outnumber new infections and the fatality rate has remained below 2% of total Covid-19 cases.

This week, single-digit new cases were reported over three consecutive days — yesterday four cases, Wednesday six and Tuesday three.

On Saturday (June 20), 21 new cases were reported, Sunday (16), and Monday (15).

With the four new cases reported over the 24-hour period up to noon yesterday, total Covid-19 cases in Malaysia now stood at 8,600. Total active cases stood at 208.

The three-digit trend for active cases began on June 14 with 986 and has since been reducing steadily as more Covid-19 patients are discharged from hospital.

No death was reported for 11 days consecutively since June 15 and the toll remains at 121 or 1.41% of the total Covid-19 cases in Malaysia.

Yesterday, 40 Covid-19 patients were discharged, bringing cumulative total recoveries to 8,271, which translates into a recovery rate of 96.2%. Malaysia’s Covid-19 recovery rate is among the highest in the world.

Currently, only two patients are being treated in the intensive care unit with neither requiring respiratory aid.

Health director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah, meanwhile, said Malaysia would only be able to attain zero Covid-19 cases if the people continue to comply with MOH’s advice and standard operating procedures (SOPs) as the “virus is still present in the community”.

Yesterday was the 100th day since the enforcement of the Movement Control Order on March 18. The MCO was extended over four phases before the Conditional MCO and Recovery MCO (June 10-Aug 31) were imposed.

“Our success in flattening the Covid-19 infection curve and reducing transmissions within the community is due to the efforts of all parties, including the people.

“In order for our nation to recover completely under RMCO, full compliance with the SOPs and ministry’s advice is necessary,” Dr Noor Hisham wrote recently on his personal Facebook account.

Malaysia will only declare itself Covid-19 free when it registers zero new positive cases for 28 days consecutively.

For the record, Covid-19 was first detected in Malaysia on Jan 25 when three Chinese nationals tested positive for the disease. They had entered Malaysia through Johor from Singapore on Jan 23.

Domestic developments

NEW CLUSTERS: On Wednesday, Dr Noor Hisham told a media briefing that MOH has detected three new Covid-19 clusters, namely Bukit Bintang cluster (Kuala Lumpur), Hulu Langat condominium cluster (Selangor) and Kuching construction site cluster (Sarawak).

To date, 10 positive cases have been detected in the Bukit Bintang cluster involving nine Bangladesh citizens and one Malaysian.

Three cases have been detected in the Hulu Langat condominium cluster which is linked to students of a tahfiz centre who tested positive during a screening for Covid-19 on June 8.

As for the construction site cluster in Kuching, the first case was detected on June 16. As of now, 426 close contacts have been identified and screened, out of which 62 emerged negative while the rest are awaiting test results.

Previously on June 20, another cluster was reported in Labu Lanjut in Sepang, Selangor. Here, five positive cases have been detected and the cause of infection is still under investigation although they are suspected to be linked to the recent Hari Raya visits.  

Dr Noon Hisham said on June 22 that an Enhanced or Semi-Enhanced MCO would not be imposed in the area as the cluster only involved family members of the patients.

END OF CLUSTER: On June 23, MOH announced that the Kuching church convention cluster (which was detected at the start of the MCO) and Cheras security guard cluster have ended.

The church cluster comprised 191 positive cases and three deaths, and involved five generations from Kuching, Kota Samarahan and Serian districts. The security guard cluster reported 39 positive cases.

A total of 43 Covid-19 clusters have ended as of now.

COVID-19 PATIENTS: As of June 23, a total of 1,712 positive cases or 19.9% consisted of patients aged 18 and below. Out of this number, 346 patients were in the 16-18 age bracket. No fatalities were reported for cases aged below 18, proving that young patients have a better chance of recovering from the disease.  

Global scenario

World Health Organisation (WHO) director-general Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, in his media briefing on Wednesday, said the agency expects Covid-19 cases to hit the 10 million mark by next week.

According to 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 9.71 million with 491,793 deaths. The total number of recoveries stood at 5.28 million.

The United States continues to head the list of badly-hit nations with 2.5 million cases and 126,780 fatalities.

Brazil is on the second spot with 1.23 million cases and 55,054 fatalities, followed by Russia with 613,994 cases and 8,605 deaths and India with 491,170 cases and 15,308 deaths.

Another 15 countries have recorded cases exceeding 100,000, namely the United Kingdom with 307,980 cases and 43,230 deaths, Spain 294,566 (28,330), Peru 268,602 (8,761), Chile 259,064 (4,903), Italy 239,706 (34,678), Iran 215,096 (10,130), Mexico 202,951 (25,060), Germany 193,785 (9,012), Pakistan 192,970 (3,903), Turkey 191,657 (5,025), Saudi Arabia 170,639 (1,428), France 161,348 (29,752), Bangladesh 126,606 (1,621), South Africa 118,375 (2,292) and Canada 102,622 (8,504).

China, where the Covid-19 outbreak was first detected at end-December 2019, is on the 21st spot with 83,449 cases and 4,634 deaths.

Other nations that have reported substantial Covid-19 cases include Qatar 91,838 (106), Colombia 80,599 (2,654) and Sweden 63,890 (5,230).

In Southeast Asia, Indonesia has the highest number of Covid-19 cases at 50,187 and 2,620 fatalities. Singapore is next with 42,736 cases and 26 deaths.

The Philippines has recorded 33,069 cases (1,212 deaths), Thailand 3,158 (58), Vietnam 352 (0), Myanmar 293 (six), Brunei 141 (two), Cambodia 130 (0) and Laos 19 (0).

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.

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