Covid-19: Highest new cases yesterday at 7,857

MoH is considering the use of the breath test, which is said to be capable of accurately detecting Covid-19 within a minute


MALAYSIA’S daily new Covid-19 cases reached yet another peak yesterday with 7,857 cases, 379 cases more compared to 7,478 on Wednesday.

This brought the country’s cumulative total to 541,224 and active cases to 69,408.

Health DG Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah in a tweet said Selangor still tops the chart with 2,675 cases, followed by Sarawak (772), Kelantan (754), Kuala Lumpur (561), Johor (549), Kedah (441) and Penang (365).

Other states that recorded high numbers of cases yesterday were Negri Sembilan with 353 cases, Terengganu (282), Pahang (238), Melaka (234), Perak (228), Sabah (217) and Labuan (170), while Putrajaya recorded 12 and Perlis six.

There are now 771 Covid-19 patients in the intensive care unit where 392 need respiratory aids.

On May 14, Dr Noor Hisham showed a graph showing the Ministry of Health’s (MoH) projection, expecting more than 8,000 cases daily by next month if compliance to the standard operating procedures (SOPs) is not stepped up.

Yesterday also saw 59 new Covid-19 deaths, bringing the total number of fatalities to 2,491, while there were 4,598 new recoveries. In total, 469,325 people have recovered from Covid-19.

Meanwhile, Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Adham Baba said the number of Covid-19 cases in categories four and five has increased to 15% during the third wave, compared to just 5% previously.

He said these infections mostly affected those aged 20 to 40, involving sporadic cases and not linked to any clusters.

“I urge the public to be more cautious because some asymptomatic cases have been detected in these categories.

“Those in categories four and five require oxygen assistance and some need to be ventilated,” he said at a virtual media conference yesterday.

He added that a total of 870 healthcare personnel, who had been vaccinated under the first phase of the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme, had been infected with the virus.

“Most of them did not experience severe symptoms because they had been vaccinated either with the first or second dose,” he said, adding that 449 healthcare personnel who have yet to be vaccinated had been infected.

On another note, Dr Adham said MoH is considering the use of the breath test, which has been identified as the latest tool to detect Covid-19 in Malaysia.

The Medical Device Authority will run a clinical test on the efficacy of the tool before giving its approval for use in the country.

“It is being widely tested in Singapore and it should be explored for use in our country, too,” he said.

It was reported recently that an easy-to-use breath test, which can accurately detect Covid-19 within a minute, has received provisional authorisation from Singapore’s Health Sciences Authority.

On the use of a self-test kit using the deep throat saliva sampling, Dr Adham said the approval for the kit would be issued soon.

“Detection of Covid-19 using the deep throat saliva sampling is easy and can be done at home. It also has a high level of sensitivity and specificity.”

He said once approved, the public can purchase the kit at any pharmacy or supplier registered with the MoH.

“If they tested positive after using the self-test kit, they need to quarantine themselves and notify the nearest district health office or via the MySejahtera app.”

On the Movement Control Order (MCO) compliance, Senior Minister (Security Cluster) Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said many are still neglecting the SOPs, especially recording their details upon entering premises.

In a period of five days up to May 27, 941 violations of this SOP had been recorded.

“Recording one’s details or checking in with the MySejahtera app is important in curbing Covid-19 infections and it is part of our new normal.

“In the event of an outbreak, the authorities, especially the MoH, can easily contact the affected individuals,” Ismail Sabri said in a statement yesterday.

Apart from that, there were 767 failures to observe physical distance during the same period.

“Physical distancing is not easy especially in confined spaces, but we must learn from the emergence of new clusters.

“The public are urged to obey the SOPs to minimise the risk of Covid-19 transmissions within the community,” he said.

Ismail Sabri also announced that nine localities nationwide will be placed under the Enhanced MCO from Saturday until June 11.

The localities are Sitiawan, Seri Manjung and Ayer Tawar in Perak; Bandar Triang, Pekan Kemayan and Gugusan Mendi in Pahang; Kampung Baru Durok and Kampung Mook in Sabah; and Kuala Berang in Hulu Terengganu. — TMR