Thursday, January 21

Covid-19 infection cases expected to drop in four weeks

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PUTRAJAYA: The Ministry of Health (MOH) expects Covid-19 infections in Malaysia to drop to around 500 to 1,000 cases a day in four weeks, said Health director-general, Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah.

He said following the implementation of Movement Control Order (MCO) from today to Jan 26, the ministry would be monitoring Covid-19 case data and development in the two weeks.

“In my opinion, we may not reduce them but we can prevent cases from increasing further.

“If we implement it for four weeks, InsyaAllah we could decrease the number of cases to 1,000 or 500 (a day) if possible,” he said at a media conference on Covid-19 here today.

“After MCO, we will implement Conditional Movement Control Order (CMCO) and we are expecting to flatten the curve in May or June,” he said.

Dr Noor Hisham said with the reimplementation of MCO, the government is putting the country on the right track in the effort to combat the infection outbreak.

On the other hand, if the country is still under CMCO, MOH is projecting the daily new cases to surpass 5,000 by April 12, and to swell to 8,000 cases a day by the end of May, he said.

Dr Noor Hisham said a more drastic approach had to be taken to break the infection chain of the disease.

“The government has to look into the suitability of the action. The CMCO was imposed from Oct 14 to date but CMCO was no longer effective,” he said.

Dr Noor Hisham said the Emergency order allowed the Health Ministry (MOH) to work with private hospitals on Covid-19 and non Covid-19 hospitals.

He also said a meeting was held with private hospitals on how to accommodate non Covid-19 patients such as cancer and semi-emergency cases  to continue treatment there.

Dr Noor Hisham said to accommodate the manpower need and to open up more space for Covid-19 patient treatment, the Public Service Department (PSD) is also assisting to offer posts such as nurses for the purpose.

On the United Kingdom B117 mutation variant detected by MOH on Monday, Dr Noor Hisham said the case involved a 22-year-old Malaysian with history of travelling to United Kingdom.

He said screening found the new mutation began in October and was detected in 13 positive cases but one case could have its ‘genome sequencing’ carried out as its cycle threshold value (CT value) was low.

Following that, the first test on the individual was negative but it was positive on the second test on Dec 28. The person was isolated and has since been allowed to discharge, said Dr Noor Hisham.

“So far only one case and there were no close contacts,” he said.

Apart from that, Dr Noor Hisham said MOH also conducted monitoring on individuals who returned from countries which have reported the new variant among them, Netherland, Turkey, Singapore, Philippines and India.

Meanwhile, he said the perception that MOH is using the reverse transcription PCR, or RT-PCR is not true.

On the other hand, he said MOH is using Antigen Rapid Test Kit (Antigen-RTK) for Covid-19 screening since May last year.

He said Antigen RTK usage has exceeded 1.3 million and the Social Security Organisation (Socso) has acquired one million Antigen-RTK for screening. — Bernama