EVERYONE NEEDS HOPE – BUT DON’T OVERLY MASSAGE THE NUMBERS, KHAIRY & NOOR HISHAM – ‘MALAYSIA NOT FULLY SAFE FROM COVID,’ EXPERTS WARN

Malaysia not fully safe from Covid

They also say it was too early to tell if the situation was improving as hospital admissions in several states, including the Klang Valley, was still high.

Manipal University College Malaysia Community and Occupational Medicine Professor Dr G. Jayakumar said the increasing trend in hospitalisation rates in several states was a concern.

Additionally, he said the waning vaccine immunity as indicated by studies and the spread of the Delta variant could again contribute to a rise in infections.

“It is too early to make a definitive conclusion on the downward trend. Hospital admissions in the Klang Valley due to Covid-19 has increased about 35 per cent the last week. However, the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) and ventilated cases have been showing a decrease.

“The next few weeks will be crucial to monitor the trend of admissions because of the opening up of activities.

Malaysia registered 5,434 Covid-19 cases on Monday and 5,745 cases yesterday, below the 6,000 mark.

Professor Dr G. Jayakumar.
Professor Dr G. Jayakumar.

The last time the country recorded cases below 6,000 was on June 28, with 5,218 cases.

On Monday, the country had a seven-day average of 1,686 hospital admissions nationwide.

According to the Health Ministry’s CovidNow portal, Selangor, Putrajaya, Sarawak and Kelantan showed a notable increase in Covid-19 hospitalisation based on the seven-day average of daily admissions.

The Klang Valley registered an increase from 309 (seven-day average) on Oct 11 to 416 on Monday. Selangor had a seven-day average admission of 264 on Oct 11, and the figure rose to 371 on Monday. Putrajaya’s figure increased from 19 on Oct 11 to 21 on Monday.

In Sarawak, hospital admissions (seven-day average) spiked from 366 on Sunday to 457 on Monday, while in Kelantan, it increased from 134 on Oct 11 to 144 on Monday. Sarawak also showed an increase in ICU admissions (seven-day average) from 105 on Oct 6 to 115 on Monday.

The Klang Valley and Kelantan, meanwhile, had been seeing a drop in ICU admissions.

Of the 5,434 Covid-19 positive cases logged on Monday, the bulk was reported in Selangor (800 cases), followed by Johor (698), Sarawak (694), and Kelantan (643). Kuala Lumpur registered 223 cases while Putrajaya had 14.

As of Monday, 85.3 per cent of the Klang Valley population had been fully vaccinated. In Sarawak and Kelantan, 70.6 per cent and 53.2 per cent of the population were fully immunised.

Dr Jayakumar said the country could be cautiously optimistic over the declining trend in infections.

“History gives us an optimistic outlook on how deadly viruses, such as the 1918 Spanish Flu pandemic that killed 50 million people worldwide, to recent epidemics like SARS, A/H1N1 influenza and MERS-CoV, which generally began with high infection or fatality rates, but become manageable over time.”

He added that the nation could expect a return to normalcy by December as the people learned to co-exist with the virus.

“It is the right direction to slowly open up the economy. The virus is probably here to stay.

“When there is an outbreak of cases, it has to be dealt with a localised approach, for instance by imposing the Enhanced Movement Control Order.

“Besides, the World Health Organisation advocates lockdown only for short durations to ease the healthcare system.

“Practising and sustaining basic public hygiene measures will be a major preventive measure to curtail Covid-19 and other respiratory illnesses.”

He added that workplaces could gradually open up, but enforcement agencies like the Health Ministry and the Occupational Safety and Health Department needed to step up their health education and enforcement activities.

“There are numerous unanswered questions with regard to Covid-19. Many scientists predict Covid-19 to become endemic. It is likely that enough people will gain immune protection from immunisation and from natural infection. It may mimic influenza, such that there will be fewer transmissions and much fewer Covid-19-related hospitalisations and death.”

Molecular virologist Dr Vinod Balasubramaniam of the Jeffrey Cheah School of Medicine and Health Sciences at Monash University Malaysia said while the drop in infections was encouraging, Malaysians could not afford to let their guard down.

He said the government and public should continue to be vigilant in monitoring Covid-19, especially in genomic surveillance, by identifying possible new mutations and variants with the reopening of international borders.

 Dr Vinod Balasubramaniam
Dr Vinod Balasubramaniam

He also said the country should expect a sporadic rise in cases with the reactivation of tourism, inter-state and international travel. However, he said the majority of infections were not expected to be severe, if the individuals were all vaccinated.

“We have every reason to be optimistic in our battle against Covid-19, with the reducing number in daily infections, usage of ICU beds and ventilators, and mortality rate. It’s proof that our vaccination drive is successful. Vaccines do work in protection against mortality and severe symptoms.

“The government is also administering booster doses to frontliners, the elderly and the immunocompromised.

“And the recent acquisition of Molnupiravir as part of our country’s antiviral portfolio against Covid-19 to be used synergistically with vaccinated individuals is a step in the right direction.

“This could lead to a return to normalcy by end-December provided the vaccination continues for all eligible children above 12 and all eligible adults. We have not won the battle until all eligible individuals are vaccinated.” NST

Covid-19 infection in Malaysia showing downward trend, says Dr Noor Hisham

KUALA LUMPUR— The number of cases, fatalities, bed usage and use of intensive care units for Covid-19 patients reported daily continued to show a downward trend in the 41st epidemiological week (ME), said Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah.

He also said that throughout the duration of the 41st ME, namely from Oct 10-16, the infectivity rate or R-naught (RT) had also remained stable at around 0.80-0.90.

He said this was in line with the increased coverage of Covid-19 vaccination in Malaysia besides efforts to reopen various sectors systematically through more convincing safe reopening initiatives.

“During that period, new Covid-19 cases showed a 17.9 per cent decrease, from 63,722 cases (40th ME) to 52,321 cases (41st ME). New cases for Selangor, Negeri Sembilan, Putrajaya and Kuala Lumpur, meanwhile, are beginning to show a horizontal trend.

“The number of cases requiring treatment in ICU also showed a 12 per cent drop from 778 cases (40th ME) to 684 cases (41st ME), while cases requiring breathing assistance showed an 11.9 per cent dip from 331 cases (40th ME) to 292 cases (41st ME),” he said in a statement today.

The total number of Covid-19 clusters also showed a decline for the same period, with 83 clusters reported, involving 37 or 44.6 per cent workplace clusters; 25 (30.1 per cent) community clusters; 10 (12.1 per cent) educational centre clusters; nine (10.8 per cent) high-risk group clusters; one (1.2 per cent) detention centre cluster; and one (1.2 per cent) religious cluster.

Bed utilisation capacity in Covid-19 Quarantine and Low-risk Treatment Centres (PKRC) and wards as well as the use of breathing apparatus also showed a downward trend of between one and three per cent in the 41st ME compared to the 40th ME.

Meanwhile, Dr Noor Hisham announced that 5,745 new Covid-19 cases were recorded as of noon today, taking the total number of infections to 2,401,866.

According to him, only 115 cases or two per cent of the new cases were in categories three, four and five while the remaining 5,630 or 98 per cent were in categories one and two.

“Of the new cases, 12 were import cases while 5,733 were local transmissions,” he said, adding that Malaysia also recorded 8,933 recovery cases to take the total number of recoveries to 2,287,888.

Dr Noor Hisham said 682 cases were being treated in the ICU, with 331 of them requiring ventilator support, while eight new clusters were identified involving seven workplace clusters and one educational cluster.

Detailed information on the current Covid-19 situation in Malaysia will be uploaded on the Covidnow website via https://covidnow.moh.gov.my and data will be updated at midnight every day. — Bernama

NST / BERNAMA

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