by S BIRRUNTHA/ pic by TMR FILE
THE Covid-19 infectivity rate or R-Naught (RO) value in the country has increased to 1.0, compared to 0.74 on Aug 26.
Health DG Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah (picture) had previously said the RO value must be lower than 1.0 to break the Covid-19 transmission chain in the country.
He said the five-day increase should be given special attention, as strict border controls in the country must be continued to ensure that no import cases spread into Malaysia.
He added that there were concerns about the increase in positive cases of Covid-19 following the winter season in countries like the US, Europe and South-East Asia as reported by the World Health Organisation (WHO).
“This is likely to upset most of the northern hemisphere countries that will face winter. In addition, airway diseases, including lung infections and the common cold, are more reported throughout the winter season than in any other seasons.
“This situation is worrying because most of the Covid-19 cases reported in Malaysia recently are import cases which get infected from abroad, even though they are quarantined at the quarantine centres upon entering Malaysia,” he said in his Covid-19 press conference yesterday.
Dr Noor Hisham said the Health Ministry is seeking cooperation from various parties to continue tightening the country’s international border.
He also noted that the ministry welcomes the decision to bar the entry of long-term pass holders from India, Indonesia and the Philippines.
As of yesterday, the country recorded 14 new Covid-19 cases involving nine local transmissions and five import cases.
The new cases brought the country’s overall total to 9,354. There are now 151 active Covid-19 cases that are being treated at health facilities nationwide.
Among the active cases yesterday, five were placed in the intensive care unit, with three requiring respiratory aid.
Meanwhile, 21 patients were discharged yesterday, increasing the total recovered cases in the country to 9,075, which equals 97%.
One new death was also recorded yesterday, bringing the country’s Covid-19 death toll to 128.
The latest fatality involved an 80-year-old Malaysian woman from the Tawar cluster who had a history of chronic illness.
Additionally, Dr Noor Hisham also said a new cluster, namely the Benteng LD Cluster, was detected with seven positive Covid-19 cases at the Lahad Datu police headquarters in Sabah yesterday.
He added that to date, 50 detainees have been tested since Aug 28, in which seven were found to be Covid-19 positive and 43 tested negative.
“The positive cases involve six undocumented migrants and one local. All of them are being treated at the Lahad Datu Hospital,” he added.
On another note, Dr Noor Hisham said the review and amendment of the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act 1988 are important and timely, as the law needs improvements to ensure the effectiveness of infectious disease control.
“This Act was drafted in 1988. For 32 years, we have not studied or looked to improve it. So, I think this is the best time for us to look at the improvement efforts of this law,” he said.
He added that the ministry will give a proposal and discuss with the Attorney General’s Department on the review of the penalty rate.
“If the proposal is adopted, it will be presented to the Cabinet and to the Parliament for approval,” he said.