Social discipline a must to keep virus at R naught below 1


TO ENSURE that the virus infectiousness value, or “R naught” in the epidemic graph stays low, Malaysians must continue to abide by the guidelines of the Conditional Movement Control Order (CMCO) and standard operating procedures (SOPs).

Health DG Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said the public need to have social responsibility and discipline to carry the guidelines out, in a bid to not return to the full MCO.

“Depending on how we behave and carry ourselves, we can eventually keep the transmissions low. Whether or not we have to go back to the full MCO also depends on the public’s behaviour,” he said at the Covid-19 update briefing yesterday.

The R naught value denotes the number of people that can be infected by a case. For example, if the value is at four, that means every positive case can spread to four other people.

Therefore, by keeping the value below 1 continuously, the outbreak and crisis will eventually end.

Dr Noor Hisham said the value will continue to decrease if the public maintains the current prevention methods. However, it can also spike if the public does not follow guidelines.

“According to the model graph and estimation by the Ministry of Health (MoH), the R naught at the beginning of the MCO on March 18 stood at 3.5.

“The value has been successfully lowered to 0.3, which is a positive development from the government’s moves and decisions followed by the people’s choice to abide by the guidelines.

“If all parties including merchants, employers, workers and the public remain compliant with the CMCO and SOPs, this R naught value will continue to go down and the Covid-19 outbreak can be stopped,” he said.

Yesterday, 37 new Covid-19 cases were recorded, a slight increase from Tuesday’s record low of 16, adding to the current active number of cases to 1,387.

Out of the new cases reported, 21 were foreigners, with four being import cases and 33 of them caused by local transmissions.

Among the active cases, 16 were undergoing treatment in the intensive care unit, while four required respiratory aid.

Two new deaths had been recorded, totalling up to 111 casualties from the outbreak since it first reached the country.

Meanwhile, 58 patients had been confirmed to have recovered and discharged from their respective hospitals, adding up to a total of 5,281 number of cases which healed from the pandemic.

The total cumulative number of Covid-19 positive cases in Malaysia stood at 6,779 as of yesterday.

MoH also reminded the public to avoid the 3Cs (crowded places, confined spaces and close conversations) and practise the 3Ws (wash, wear and warn).