COVID-19: Complacency possible cause of case spike, new clusters – Health DG


Complacency, along with non-compliance of government directives and advice, may have led to the recent spike in daily new COVID-19 cases and the emergence of several new clusters. 

Health director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said of late, there had been pictures on social media of individuals placed under Home Surveillance Order (HSO) seen in public areas. 

Data analysis obtained from the MySejahtera application revealed that from July 7-20, 24.8% of those under HSO had not been using the Home Assessment Tool as required, he said. 

“The Home Assessment Tool is for the individual to carry out daily self-assessment throughout the 14-day home quarantine period. 

“So far, the number of those returning from abroad who are persons under surveillance required to carry out the HSO is 31,674 people, of which 18,416 have completed the quarantine process,” he said at the COVID-19 media briefing here today. 

However, Dr Noor Hisham said of that number, 10% were found not to have undergone COVID-19 screening on the 13th day, this besides non-compliance of standard operating procedures (SOPs). 

He said from observation, there seems to be more people frequenting restaurants, shopping in supermarkets and back at their respective work stations, adding that MySejahtera data also showed that the number of new registrations for the application had been increasing over the last three weeks. 

However, the number of check-ins at eateries and supermarkets seems to be on the decline, Dr Noor Hisham pointed out. 

“This shows SOP compliance is on the decline. Owners of premises and the public are reminded to continue to adhere to the SOPs so that together we can break the chain of COVID-19 infection. 

“Society now has to play a more important tole to combat the pandemic. Comply with the SOPs,” he said, while also reminding the public to report SOP violations to the authorities. 

Dr Noor Hisham said Malaysia had recorded the lowest number of daily COVID new cases just three weeks ago, reporting only one case on July 1. 

There had also been days with zero local transmissions, but daily cases have seen an increase of late, and at times hitting double digits, he added. 

Since July 1, the MOH has reported 15 new COVID-19 clusters.

Welcoming the government’s decision to make it compulsory to use face masks in crowded public places and public transport, Dr Noor Hisham once again reminded the public to use their face masks the correct way. 

He explained that for non-medical masks, the World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends the use of fabric-type or three-layered cloth mask, with an inner layer that absorbs moisture, an outer layer made from non-absorbent material and a hydrophobic middle layer made of non-synthetic material. 

“Besides this, the face masks need to be worn correctly, that is covering the area from the nose right down to the chin,” he said while warning that incorrect use could result in the risk of contamination or infection to the user.