The infectivity of Covid-19 was rising in Malaysia, with the Health Ministry reporting an effective reproduction rate (Rt) of 1.07 now versus 0.96 just over a week ago.
According to data Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah shared this morning, the Rt has also risen every day since June 25.
The biggest jump was between June 28 and 29, when the figure went from 1.00 to 1.04.
The Rt projects the average number of people from the remaining vulnerable population that each new Covid-19 patient will infect over a given period. Any figure above 1.00 indicates that the pandemic is expanding.
According to the current Susceptible-Exposed-Infectious-Removed (SEIR) projection, the ability of Phase One of the National Recovery Plan to contain Covid-19 in Malaysia began levelling out around June 15 or just two weeks into the “total lockdown”.
Since then, cases have remained flat between 5,000 and 6,000 cases, and have crept up to just under 7,000 for the past two days.
Based on the trajectory of cases reported, Malaysia is also likely to see increasing numbers in the days to come.
The federal government has imposed an enhanced movement control order (EMCO) across most of Kuala Lumpur and Selangor for a period of two weeks starting today.
The state and federal territory have persistently been the largest contributors of new cases, with both respectively registering 2,907 and 637 cases yesterday.
While health authorities in the country have not said so, Malaysia’s latest wave of Covid-19 infections appeared to be due to the Delta variant that was also causing renewed spikes in other countries.
Delta was previously known as the B.1.617.2 variant of concern (VOC), which was first discovered in India late last year. It was renamed to Delta when the World Health Organisation introduced a naming convention using the Greek alphabet to prevent confusion and miscommunication.
Previously, Dr Noor Hisham disclosed that partial vaccination only provided marginal protection from being infected by the Delta variant.
Studies of the Delta variant have found it to be more efficient in attaching itself to cells once within the host body, which made it over twice as transmissible as the original coronavirus detected in 2019.
This attribute also made it more likely to cause severe symptoms in those infected.
This appeared to be reflected in the country’s persistently high intensive care unit (ICU) usage, which was 905 patients yesterday.
The deadliness of Covid-19 infections was also worsening, as evidenced by the number of deaths that rose from 1,290 in May to 2,374 in June.
On average, Malaysia lost nearly 80 people a day to Covid-19 last month. For all of 2020, Malaysia reported 471 Covid-19 deaths. – MMO