Covid-19 infection rate would peak in mid-April, says report


LEADING financial services firm JP Morgan said Malaysia’s aggressive testing strategy of test per million capita for Covid-19 has far exceeded its Asean peers and even several European nations.

“As a result, such stringent testing methodology results in higher reported infection numbers and has given the confidence of milder development and mortality rate,” it said in a research note.

Malaysia recorded 1,624 cases (at press time), of which 183 have recovered, while 15 people succumbed to the deadly virus that originated from Wuhan, China.

On this, JP Morgan predicted that the infection rate in Malaysia would peak in the middle of April at about 6,300.

“The proactive preventive measures implemented such as the recent Movement Control Order, along with border controls, has helped slow the spread and should subdue secondary spread of the epidemic” it said.

Other strong efforts undertaken by the government include restricted entry for foreigners, restrictions on Malaysians travelling abroad, closure of schools and colleges, bans on social gatherings and shut down of shops except those dealing with daily essentials.

Expressing concerns of the epidemic entering the curve acceleration stage in Malaysia based on the observed doubling of infections recently, JP Morgan believes that phase will ebb within 1⁄2-two weeks before the accumulation stage, when the overall infection growth rate potentially slows to 100-250 day to day.

On Malaysia’s testing capability, it said the country’s “test per million capita” is 482, four to 81 times higher compared to that of other Asean countries (six to 109 tests per million populations) and even higher than several European countries.

Malaysia’s mortality ratio is also lower at 0.77 versus global average of 4.4%, it said, adding that at this stage, it sees the country’s mortality risk could be managed with milder development.

“Malaysia’s current critical care beds are estimated at 1,060 (2017 data, per Registry of Intensive Care). Assuming about 10% of the infected requires intensive care, the Malaysian hospital capacity looks sufficient to manage mortality risk,” it said in a report entitled Add Malaysia to Asia Infection Curve.

JP Morgan said the country has the capacity to absorb future hospital demand to a large degree.