Health D-G: Case numbers expected to plateau next week

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The Health Ministry expects the number of Covid-19 cases reported daily to stabilise in the coming week to around 3,000 a day with a prediction of R-naught (R0) value of 1.2, said Director-General of Health Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah.

He said the ministry would evaluate whether the movement control order (MCO) should be extended.

“The Health Ministry expects the R0 to be more than 1.2 in the coming week, but we are also hoping that the cases would stabilise, probably around 3,000 cases per day.

Miera Zulyana

“So, we will then re-evaluate the situation after two weeks whether to extend the MCO for another two more weeks,” Noor Hisham said at a press conference today at Putrajaya.

Last week, an initial six states were put on the MCO, followed by all states except Sarawak this week.

Noor Hisham said that he supported the move, as interstate travel had led to a spike in infections.

He said the number of cases has increased across the peninsula.

“We see an increase in cases not only in the Klang Valley, but the number of cases has increased across the peninsula as a result of crossing states and districts.

“So, the latest implementation of the nationwide MCO is fair,” he said.

He added that it was still too early to gauge the effectiveness of the MCO as new cases currently reported were likely from infections prior to its implementation.

“The incubation period for the Covid-19 virus is two weeks — so those we detect now are from those infected from before MCO 2.0.”

Category Four and Five Covid-19 patients now accounted for 15 percent of those being treated at public hospitals versus just 3 percent at the height of the second wave last year, Dr Noor Hisham said.

He acknowledged that public hospitals designated for Covid-19 treatments were almost at their maximum capacity to accommodate additional patients to the number of beds available, leading to a shortage in beds.

Category One and Two Covid-19 cases comprised individuals who are asymptomatic and those exhibiting mild symptoms respectively, while Category Four and Five are classified as the severe stages of Covid-19 disease.

With the increased number of Category Four and Five patients, the death rate due to Covid-19 is also on the rise.

To put into perspective, a total of 148 Covid-19 related deaths have been recorded since January 1 alone, with Malaysia’s cumulative death standing at 619 cases.

Dr Noor Hisham further said that if one were to include Category Three patients, the estimate would hover around 20 percent of the overall active Covid-19 positive cases.

“So, if we have around 3,000 patients traced, then 20 percent of 3,000 is 600 cases which will be admitted for treatment at public hospitals.

“As you can see now, cases involving treatment in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) and those requiring ventilators are gradually increasing as well,” he added.