Thursday, January 20, 2022

Delta variant can cause infection in 15 seconds, says health DG

He says the Rt of the Delta variant and other strains is between 5 and 8, compared to 2.5 and 3 for normal viruses.

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With the new Covid-19 variants, including the Delta strain, infections can spread very quickly in just 15 seconds through airborne transmission, health director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said today.

He said the airborne infection would raise the infectivity rate (R-naught or Rt) in the community, which would then result in a spike in daily cases.

“The increase in cases is not only happening in our country. The whole world is affected by the more dominant Delta variant, including our neighbouring countries and the UK. We can see a spike in cases since June 26… the increase is due to the high Rt of the Delta variant.

“The Rt of a normal virus is between 2.5 and 3, but that of the Delta variant and other variants that we have identified is between 5 and 8. That means if 100 people are infected, the virus can spread to 500 to 800 people in a short period,” he said at a media conference today.

Meanwhile, Noor Hisham said the implementation of the movement control under the National Recovery Plan on June 1 had given the health ministry space and time to manage the increased number of beds, equipment and medicine required in hospitals nationwide.

He said this could be seen through the ministry’s ability to provide a total of 4,300 beds at present, with 3,600 beds at the Malaysia Agro Exposition Park Serdang (MAEPS) Covid-19 integrated quarantine and treatment centre and 700 beds in three hospitals, including at the Serdang Hospital.

“This is the time that we used to carry out purchases and give time for these healthcare facilities to accommodate patients,” he said.

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