Is the Covid-19 transmission chain broken?


THERE has been a decline in new positive Covid-19 cases in Malaysia, with yesterday’s number of new cases at 93 and the lowest being 10 cases which were reported on May 28.

On Monday, Health DG Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said despite the figures recorded at detainment centres, import cases or individuals not within the community, infectiousness levels are low.

“There were a spike of 172 cases in late May and increases of new cases to double digits which may seem like people are not carrying out their social responsibilities.

“However, new cases from within our local community still retain a low infectiousness level, which is also below our projected line,” he said.

Based on the downtrend of new infections observed last month, the nation is set on achieving a single digit of daily new cases.

Dr Noor Hisham said if high-risk groups are well-protected, as they may get infected from caretakers, the virus transmission may eventually break.

Does that mean that soon the country will go back to the way it was before?

“If there is no spike from the Hari Raya festivities, we will slowly be loosening restrictions on certain sectors, namely social, sports and education,” Dr Noor Hisham said.

In the global perspective, however, the World Health Organisation (WHO) reportedly said the virus may never go away completely, and humans will have to live with it.

Yesterday, in its 133rd Covid-19 situation report, WHO highlighted that there are currently over 120 vaccine candidates that have been mapped, and sites in 40 countries have expressed interest in the Vaccine Solidarity Trial.

“In the past three months, since its creation following the Global Research and Innovation Forum hosted by WHO on Feb 11 and 12, important progress has been achieved, including continuously landscaping and mapping vaccine candidates and their progress across the world.

“Currently, over 120 vaccine candidates have been mapped, raising the question of how to prioritise the ones that will go from early to later development,” WHO noted.

Malaysia is also a part of the global research effort to test several drugs in treating Covid-19.

WHO epidemiologist Maria Van Kerkhove alongside experts on viruses and infectious diseases said in both transmissibility and severity, nothing has changed about the virus.

“There is no data to show that the new coronavirus is changing significantly, either in its form of transmission or in the severity of the disease it causes,” she said on Monday.

However, a study by San Raffaele Hospital microbiology and virology laboratory director Massimo Clementi noted that while the virus has not changed, its relationship with the host did.

The study compared virus samples from Covid-19 patients at the Milan-based hospital in March with samples from patients in May.