Wednesday, October 20, 2021

26,000 Covid deaths by September ‘not impossible’, says health minister

Dr Adham Baba says his ministry is still waiting for complete data on claims that the virus has become airborne.

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It is not impossible for the Covid-19 death toll in Malaysia to reach 26,000 by September as projected by a study conducted by a university in the US, Health Minister Dr Adham Baba said today.

“What has been projected is not something impossible,” he told reporters when asked about the matter at a joint press conference with the higher education minister at Hospital Canselor Tuanku Muhriz Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia in Kuala Lumpur.

World Health Organization Science Council member Dr Adeeba Kamarulzaman said yesterday that the study had found that the Covid-19 death toll in the country might reach 26,000 by September based on the current trajectory.

The projected number would be about nine times the current cumulative death toll, which stood at 2,993 yesterday.

Adeeba said the study, conducted by the Institute for Health Metric and Evaluation of the University of Washington, also estimated that the daily death rate would go as high as 200 cases towards the end of August.

Meanwhile, Adham said 60% of sporadic Covid-19 cases in the country were linked to people’s movements and 40% to clusters.

“The virus follows people. When people move, the virus also moves,” he said.

He said among the causes of community clusters were activities in various sectors, activities during the month of Ramadan, and courier personnel as this group is very mobile.

Asked whether Covid-19 had become airborne, he said the health ministry was still waiting for complete data on such claims.

He said the 14-day total lockdown imposed on June 1 had shown positive signs in the fight against the pandemic while screening tests conducted by several state governments and the health ministry nationwide had reached 100,000 a day.

However, the hard work of the government in battling the pandemic together with NGOs will not succeed without the cooperation of the people during the lockdown period, he said.

He also said it was a winnable war provided that all quarters played their role to ease the pressure on the national healthcare system.

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