Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Delta variant, asymptomatic people behind spike in Klang Valley cases, says task force leader

He says the protection offered by vaccines also takes time to build.

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The emergence of the Delta variant and the presence of many asymptomatic individuals who are unaware of their infection status and are spreading the virus have been identified as part of the cause for the spike in Covid-19 cases in the Greater Klang Valley (GKV).

GKV Special Task Force commander Dr Chong Chee Kheong said despite the ramp-up in vaccinations, the number of daily cases was still rising because the protection offered by the vaccine takes time to build.

“The vaccine effectiveness is best two weeks after the second dose, so this takes time. The Delta variant that has a high infectivity rate is also an important contributor to the spike in cases.

“In addition, we recognise from the experience and data of nations with high vaccination rates that infections can still occur due to the Delta variant although hospitalisations and severe infections are significantly reduced,” he said in a statement today.

In order to stem the spread of the virus in the GKV, Chong who is also deputy director of health (public health), said the GKV Special Task Force had put in place a number of strategic measures to optimise care services, reduce virus transmission and support the community and health staff.

Some of the key initiatives are increasing the capacity of beds, ICU care, oxygen supply, manpower deployment and use of volunteers, as well as strengthening Covid-19 assessment centres (CACs) by offering a virtual CAC for asymptomatic and mildly symptomatic patients and enhanced home monitoring management.

“We hope to offer more RTK-Ag tests to health clinics and general practitioners via the sale of Medical Device Authority-approved test kits to allow for wider testing,” Chong said.

He also advised individuals in the GKV showing any symptoms of Covid-19 to get tested, and once confirmed positive, to isolate themselves at home and conduct frequent self-monitoring through the MySejahtera application.

“We don’t want to congest hospitals with mild cases so that treatment for severe patients can be prioritised. Our staff will contact those who are red-flagged as high risk and request them to come to the nearest CAC or hospital,” he said.

He said the number of cases was expected to continue rising in the next few days as they were encouraging more self-testing and RTK-Ag use.

“But do not be alarmed by this. We need to identify as many cases as possible to reduce transmission in the community. As more of these positive cases and their contacts are isolated and quarantined, cases will start to gradually come down in the weeks to come,” he said.

Once that happens, he said, testing will be re-strategised to ensure the effective detection of cases for isolation and monitoring.

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