Malaysia will declare ‘Covid-19 free’ if no new cases for 28 days

by S BIRRUNTHA/ pic by RAZAK GHAZALI

THE country will announce that it is free from the Covid-19 infection once it registers zero cases of new infection for 28 consecutive days.

Health DG Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah (picture) said this will be based on two 14-day cycles that they use to monitor and detect Covid-19 positive individuals who are being quarantined.

“If we look at what we have done before we end a Covid-19 cluster, we monitor it for 28 days. That is two cycles of incubation.

“So, if we use the same method and if we achieve zero cases for 28 consecutive days, then we will announce ourselves free of Covid-19. That will be our benchmark,” he said in his daily Covid-19 briefing yesterday.

Malaysia recorded 31 new Covid-19 cases yesterday, involving 11 import cases, 19 foreigners and one local.

The latest double-digit figure is an increase following a streak of single-digit cases in the last three days.

Dr Noor Hisham said the case involving a Malaysian yesterday was detected during a health screening at a tahfiz school in Selangor.

Meanwhile, the 19 new cases of foreigners involved 16 from the Pedas cluster in Negri Sembilan, one from the Sungai Lui cluster, one from the cleaning company cluster in Kuala Lumpur (KL) and another from a construction site in KL.

Among the active cases, five are currently placed in the intensive care unit, with no patients requiring respiratory aid.

The increase in new cases has brought the current active cases to 1,186 and the country’s overall total to 8,369 (at press time).

Fifty-one patients recovered, increasing the recovered cases percentage to 84.4% overall, which equals to 7,065 as of yesterday.

No new deaths have been reported, maintaining the country’s death tally at 118 (at press time).

Meanwhile, Dr Noor Hisham also noted that operations of all economic sectors are expected to be fully reopened by the end of the Recovery Movement Control Order (RMCO), which is at the end of August.

He added that it is the Health Ministry’s (MoH) target to maintain the country’s new Covid-19 infection trend and to continue the decline in cases.

“If we can maintain the number of cases to single- or double-digits, or lower the number further, we can reopen all the sectors over time.

“We have recently reopened hair salons and barber shops. Towards the end of the RMCO, we expect to reopen all economic sectors in the country,” he said.

Dr Noor Hisham added that the ministry is currently working on the standard operating procedure (SOP) for the reopening of massage and reflexology centres, focusing on centres which are operated by the disabled community.

“The SOP is currently being streamlined by the MoH and is expected to be presented to the National Security Council (NSC) next week.

“We have looked into the applicable SOPs and will wait for NSC’s approval in the near future,” he added.