Health Ministry projects 8,000 daily Covid-19 cases in March if R-nought is 1.2

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The Health Ministry today warned that daily Covid-19 cases could hit 8,000 by mid-March if the basic reproduction number (R-nought or R0) of the virus infection increases to 1. 2.

Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah on his official Twitter account posted two Susceptible-Exposed-Infective-Recovered (SEIR) epidemiological prediction models of the possible rate of infections in the country when the R0 is at 1.1 and 1.2.

Miera Zulyana

“Attention to daily cases of Covid-19 and the expected projection of cases from 4 January to 31 May 2021 with R0 infection rates at 1.1 and 1.2 in Malaysia,” he said in addition to the two graphs using the different values.

According to the SEIR model, in the current scenario where R0 infection rate is at 1.1, daily cases would hit 3,000 during the second week of February.

If the R0 remains at 1.1 by the second week of April Malaysia will see 5,000 daily cases.

Dr Noor Hisham also posted a second SEIR model with the infection rate at 1.2 — where Malaysia can potentially record 8,000 daily cases by the third week of March.

The graph only goes to a maximum of 10,000 cases, which Malaysia would hit before April.

Yesterday Dr Noor Hisham said R0 in Malaysia has increased back to 1.1 and added that authorities’ target to bring down the R0 to 0.5 has not been achieved yet.

He pointed out that authorities are concerned that the current trend has continuously shown in recent weeks that the cases are increasing.

He said the ministry needs to relook at the strategies that have been implemented since October 14.

R-nought of below 1.0 is necessary to prevent the growth of new infections.

On November 10, the R-nought of Covid-19 infections in Malaysia was under 1.0. – MMO