Hospital admission for symptomatic cases new indicator for Phase 1 transition

The indicator will be used after 50% of adult population of Phase 1 states are fully vaccinated

by TMR / pic by BLOOMBERG

THE government will use the number of new hospital admissions for symptomatic Covid-19 cases to determine the transition for Phase 1 states into the Phase 2, says National Recovery Plan (NRP) Coordinating Minister Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Tengku Abdul Aziz.

“The benchmark for symptomatic cases used is based on daily hospital admissions for the total number of patient cases in categories 3, 4 and 5,” he said in a statement on Saturday.

This new indicator would only take effect after 50% of the adult population of the Phase 1 states have completed their vaccination, he added.

“For example, when Klang Valley, Johor, Negri Sembilan, Kedah and Melaka that are still in Phase 1 reaches at least 50% of full vaccination rate of the adult population, the indicator that will be used is new hospital admissions for symptomatic cases.

“The states can only move to Phase 2 if they achieve the threshold value of symptomatic new hospital admissions (6.1 per 100,000 population) and a moderate level of intensive care units (ICU) utilisation capacity,” he said.

The government had decided to use this new indicator in a special National Security Council and National Recovery Council (NRC) meeting chaired by Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin last week.

Tengku Zafrul, who is also the finance minister, said the decision was also made based on the advice of health experts as well as from the international and domestic’s experience and the vaccination rate.

According to him, the nationwide threshold value for the number of symptomatic cases for the transition from Phase 1 to Phase 2 was 2,000 cases per day (6.1 per 100,000 population).

For a transition from Phase 2 to Phase 3, he said the threshold value was 1,000 symptomatic cases per day (three cases per 100,000 population).

The threshold value to move from Phase 3 to Phase 4 was 400 symptomatic cases per day (1.3 symptomatic case per population), he said.

The evaluation assessment for the transition from one phase to another, is still subject to all indicators, including the utilisation of ICU capacity and the vaccination rate of the adult population.

Tengku Zafrul added that this decision was also made after risk of transmission was found to be under control in Sarawak and Labuan, with a significant reduction in symptomatic cases and those requiring treatment in ICU.

“Although Sarawak and Labuan faced full ICU capacity in June, the utilisation decreased to an ‘adequate’ level after the vaccination rate reached 50% in July,” he said.

Tengku Zafrul said the risk assessment to consider for the reopening of economic and social activities will be more accurate if it was made based on the number of symptomatic cases of categories 3, 4 and 5, compared to referring to the number of new daily cases.

“For example, although new daily cases in Sarawak is around 400 cases a day, the number of new patients in categories 3, 4 and 5 is less than 10 patients or 2% of daily cases,” Tengku Zafrul said, citing UK as an example that focuses on the symptomatic case rate and continued to allow the opening of economic and social activities based on its risk assessment.

He reiterated that the NRC is dynamic and all decisions will be based on data and science.

“This includes setting indicators and threshold values for phase transitions. The use of this new indicator will be able to improve risk assessment in considering the opening of economic and social activities in the context of the transition phase of NRP,” he said.