Health DG: Covid-19 curve could flatten by May

However, 2 weeks may not be enough for a significant reduction in Covid-19 cases to be seen

by NUR HAZIQAH A MALEK / pic by MUHD AMIN NAHARUL

IT WOULD be possible to flatten the curve of the current Covid-19 transmission rate by May should the newly reinstated Movement Control Order (MCO) go well.

Health DG Tan Sri Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said based on the Health Ministry’s projection, it is still quite early to predict the trend for April and May 2021.

“If the people comply with the standard operating procedures (SOPs) and stay at home during the two-week period of the MCO, then we should be able to turn the graph downwards and changes can be seen within 12 weeks.

“For now, we will implement preventive measures for these first two weeks and see the development within the period. Hopefully, if things go well, by May we will be able to flatten the curve of the transmission in the country,” he said at his daily Covid-19 update yesterday.

However, Dr Noor Hisham said two weeks may not be enough for a significant reduction in Covid-19 cases to be seen.

“In my opinion, we probably will not be able to reduce the number of Covid-19 cases, but we can prevent the cases from increasing.

“If we implement the MCO for four weeks or five weeks, we can bring the cases to below 1,000, and then 500,” he said.

As of Tuesday, the daily estimated R-value, which is the rate of transmission, was 1.16.

On the topic of isolation and treatment, he said to accommodate patients, only those with dangerous symptoms are sent to the hospital, which is around 10% to 15%.

“The majority of them are either asymptomatic or have mild symptoms and they will be placed in the Quarantine and Low Risk Treatment Centre,” he said.

He added that the ministry is considering home isolation as well, which is in practice with other countries.

“We need to identify the suitability of the home, if they have the space and the age group of the people they are living with to ascertain the risk. If they are of a high-risk group, then it should not be encouraged,” Dr Noor Hisham said.

He said the ministry is also looking into turning hotels into quarantine hostels.

“Two hotels have been identified in Negri Sembilan for those with milder symptoms,” he said.

Yesterday, the country reported 2,985 new Covid-19 cases, with Selangor being the highest contributor at 837 cases, followed by Johor (535) and Sabah (450).

This brings the total active cases to 32,377.

As of noon yesterday, 197 patients have been placed in intensive care units, where 79 require breathing aids.

Four new fatalities were reported, bringing the country’s death tally to 563.

“Three of the deceased were from Sabah, involving a man, 63, with a history of diabetes and hypertension; a man aged 62 with a history of asthma and pulmonary tuberculosis; and a 19-year-old woman with anaemia.

“The list of fatalities also includes a man, 77, with various health issues.”

Eleven new clusters were identified. With two expired clusters, there are now 270 active clusters in the country.

The clusters reported the most numbers of new cases were Tembok Choh and Jalan Rami in Johor, and Tembok Mempaga in Bentong, Pahang.

Out of the 11 new clusters, seven were related to workplaces.


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