Saturday, October 23, 2021

Case numbers remain high as govt seeks transition to endemic phase

Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin says the cooperation of the entire nation is needed to achieve the target of reaching the endemic phase by end-October.

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While the government has set a timeline for the nation to prepare for the endemic phase of Covid-19 by the end of next month, this target may not be realised given the high number of new cases.

Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin has cautioned Klang Valley residents not to let their guard down following the announcement that Selangor, Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya would move to Phase Two of the National Recovery Plan (NRP) on Sept 10.

This came after large crowds were seen in the city centre and at recreational parks following his announcement. Most of the people did not follow the basic SOPs of wearing face masks and observing physical distancing.

“I’ve previously spoken several times about the government’s target to start moving into the endemic phase by the end of October.

“However, to realise this target requires the cooperation of the whole nation to continue complying with the SOPs,” Khairy said.

According to the health ministry, Malaysia’s daily caseload stood at 18,815 as at noon yesterday.

This brought the country’s cumulative caseload to 2,049,750 cases. It had surpassed the two million mark on Sept 14.

With a cumulative figure of 2,049,750 cases, Malaysia is now in 21st spot out of 223 nations and territories which have been affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. Ahead of Malaysia is Peru (2,163,312 cases) and the Philippines (2,304,192 cases).

Daily new cases during the week as compiled by Bernama from Sept 11 to Sept 16 are as follows: Sept 11 (19,550); Sept 12 (19,198), Sept 13 (16,073), Sept 14 (15,669), Sept 15 (19,495) and Sept 16 (18,815).

The total number of Covid-19 patients who had recovered as of yesterday was 16,939, bringing the cumulative figure to 1,800,278 cases (87.8%) from the overall total Covid-19 cases.

Of the total of 913 Covid-19 patients referred to the ICU, 422 cases needed intubation or respiratory support.

According to the health ministry, reported Covid-19 fatalities on Sept 16 stood at 346 cases, bringing the total fatalities to 22,355 cases.

Health director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said of the 18,815 new cases reported yesterday, 222 (1.2%) were in Category Three, Four and Five. A total of 18,593 cases (98.8%) were in Category One and Two.

Category Five patients are those in critical condition with multiple organ complications requiring ventilator support while Category Four involves symptomatic patients with lung infection and who need oxygen assistance. Category Three covers symptomatic patients with lung infection while Category Two involves those with mild symptoms and Category One patients are asymptomatic.

Noor Hisham said a UKM Medical Molecular Biological Institute study had identified 23 new SARS-CoV-2 variants while the Institute of Medical Research (IMR) has detected 38 variant of concern (VOC) cases – 36 Delta cases (B.1.617.2) and two Beta cases (B.1.351).

This brings the total cases of SARS-CoV-2 that are categorised as VOC and variant of interest (VOI) cases to 1,385.

Of the total detected, 1,365 are VOC while 20 cases are VOI. To date, under the VOC category, 1,141 Delta variant cases have been detected, 211 Beta variant cases and 14 Alpha variant cases. For the VOI category meanwhile, there have been 13 Theta variant cases, four Kappa cases and three Eta variant cases.

The Covid-19 infectivity rate or R-naught (R0) value has stayed below 1.0.

The daily R0 or Rt value nationwide during the week under review is as follows:

Sept 11 (0.99), Sept 12 (0.98), Sept 13 (0.98), Sept 14 (0.96), Sept 15 (0.97) and Sept 16 (0.98).

State-wise, Sarawak recorded the highest R0/Rt value yesterday at 1.11.

The R-Naught or R0/Rt value of a virus indicates the infectivity rate or the number of new infections generated by each case. An R0 value of 0.5 is needed to flatten the virus’ infection curve.

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