More sectors can reopen if cases contained in 2 weeks

Monitoring will continue until May 12 and by today or tomorrow, we will be able to see a trend and advise the PM, says health DG

by ALIFAH ZAINUDDIN/ pic by TMR FILE

HEALTH DG Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah (picture) expects more segments of the economy to resume operations in the next two weeks if cases are kept at double-digit levels.

Dr Noor Hisham said the Health Ministry will continue to closely monitor and detect new cases of infection in the next few days as the last few days have hit record lows since the Movement Control Order (MCO) was imposed on March 18. The country recently eased restrictions under the Conditional MCO (CMCO).

“The situation now is under control as new cases have been reduced to two digits. But there are still new clusters that are being discovered.

The latest new cluster identified involving security guards at a mall in Cheras, with 10 positive cases detected so far. Nine cases involved Nepalis while the other is a Malaysian.

Dr Noor Hisham said the cause of the cluster is still under investigation, and that all workers and close contacts had been screened.

“It is important we identify these clusters so that immediate action to contain the spread can be done. We will continue to monitor until May 12 and by today or tomorrow, we will be able to see a trend and advice the prime minister (PM) on the next course of action,” he said at his daily briefing yesterday.

Malaysia reported 39 new coronavirus cases yesterday, four days after the government eased restrictions under the CMCO to jump-start the economy.

Of the new cases, only one was an imported case while the rest were from local transmissions. No deaths were recorded, keeping total fatalities at 107.

The proportion of recovered cases remained strong with 74 more patients recovered and discharged, bringing the total recovery to 4,776 cases or 73.9% of over- all cases.

Despite the reopening of some sectors of the economy, Malaysia has not yet entered an exit strategy phase as the plan is subjected to critical observation in the next two weeks, added Dr Noor Hisham.

“We are still under CMCO where our borders continue to be closed and actions advised by the World Health Organisation are in force. We will see if we can contain the situation by keeping new cases to two digits or seeing a decline in new infections. Only then, we may consider gradually loosening other restrictions,” he said.

Dr Noor Hisham said Malaysia’s heightened capacity to conduct tests recently have shown low rates of infectivity.

He said out of 7,255 screenings and tests conducted on pre-operation patients, only five cases were found to be positive. That means the positive rate is less than 0.1%, citing this as an encouraging example which indicates that the outbreak in Malaysia is under control.