MoH: Daily new Covid-19 cases likely to drop below 1,000 only by mid-February

PUTRAJAYA, 13 Jan 2021:

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.

Following the implementation of Movement Control Order (MCO) from today to Jan 26, he said 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-10 here today.

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

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 had been still under CMCO, he said MoH was projecting daily new cases to surpass 5,000 by April 12, and to swell to 8,000 cases a day by the end of May.

Dr Noor Hisham said a more drastic approach had to be taken to break the infection chain of the disease. “The government had to look into the suitability of the action. The CMCO was imposed from Oct 14 to date but CMCO was no longer effective.”

He explained the Emergency order allows MoH to work with private hospitals on Covid-19 and non-Covid-19 cases. 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.

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

On the UK 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 UK.

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.”

Dr Noor Hisham said MoH also conducted monitoring on individuals who returned from countries which have reported the new variant – among them being 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. He said MoH has been 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