By Melati Mohd Ariff
This is a round-up of COVID-19 related matters in Malaysia and globally from July 4 up to 12.30 pm today. In Malaysia, case numbers have exceeded 8,000 and globally, the virus has infected more than 12 million people and caused over 550,000 deaths. More than 200 countries and territories are affected by the pandemic.
KUALA LUMPUR (Bernama) – In Malaysia, the first three COVID-19 cases were detected more than six months ago. Since then the number of confirmed cases has swelled to 8,683 but currently, however, only two percent of them or 67 are active cases.
A total of 8,499 cases have recovered fully so far, including the 13 patients discharged over the 24 hours up to noon yesterday.
Health director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said in a media statement yesterday that Malaysia has recorded the second consecutive day of zero local transmissions of COVID-19, with the six new cases reported yesterday comprising imported infections involving five Malaysians and a permanent resident returning from overseas.
On Wednesday, three new COVID-19 cases were recorded and all three were imported ones.
The latest developments clearly indicate that Malaysians are aware of the importance of practising self-discipline, as well as observing the new normal way of life as per the Ministry of Health’s (MOH) standard operating procedures (SOPs) to break the COVID-19 chain of infections.
Also noteworthy is the fact that the dwindling new case numbers were achieved under the Recovery Movement Control Order that was enforced on June 10 and will stretch until Aug 31.
As for COVID-19 fatalities, the tally still stands at 121, which translates to a recovery rate of 1.39 percent of total cases. No deaths were reported in Malaysia since July 9.
Meanwhile, only two patients are currently being treated in the intensive care unit with one of them requiring ventilatory aid.
On Wednesday, MOH uploaded the picture of an egg on its Facebook and Twitter accounts to indicate that Malaysia recorded zero local transmission of COVID-19 that day.
The “egg-cellent” news got social media platforms buzzing with excitement with many netizens heaping praises on MOH and its frontliners for a job well done. In fact, the first time Malaysia reported zero local transmission was on July 1 when one imported case was recorded.
During his media briefing on Wednesday, Dr Noor Hisham also announced the end of the nation’s biggest COVID-19 cluster – Sri Petaling tabligh cluster.
This cluster was detected after a tabligh gathering that took place from Feb 27 to March 3 at a mosque in Seri Petaling, Kuala Lumpur. An estimated 16,000 people – 14,500 Malaysians and 1,500 non-Malaysians from various countries – had attended the event.
The first COVID-19 case from that cluster was reported in Malaysia on March 11. As of July 8, a total of 42,023 individuals who attended the tabligh gathering had been screened and 3,375 were found positive.
The Sri Petaling tabligh cluster comprised 38.9 percent of the total COVID-19 cases in Malaysia. Positive cases belonging to this cluster and sub-clusters were detected in seven states, involving 2,550 Malaysian citizens and 825 non-citizens.
Interestingly, 2,187 positive cases (64.8 percent) from this cluster were asymptomatic. COVID-19 claimed the lives of 34 patients (28.1 percent) in this cluster.
MOH also announced the end of the Kg Sg Lui, Selangor, cluster on Wednesday. This cluster recorded 211 cases but there were no deaths.
In its press statement yesterday, MOH announced that 11 out of the 15 clusters detected in workplaces have ended. This includes the Kuala Lumpur cleaning company cluster, which was the first workplace cluster to be detected.
Four more workplace clusters that are still active are the Kuala Lumpur construction site cluster (73 positive cases), Pedas cluster (326), cleaning company cluster (34) and Kuching construction site cluster (three).
WHO AND GLOBAL SITUATION
WHO director-general Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, in his COVID-19 media briefing in Geneva, Switzerland on Tuesday, said the pandemic is still spreading and has yet to reach its peak.
For the record, in the year 1918, an influenza pandemic (referred to as the Spanish Flu) struck the world, infecting 500 million and killing 50 million people worldwide. The influenza was reportedly caused by the H1N1 virus with genes of avian origin.
Dr Tedros said over the past few months, there has been a lot of discussion about the origins of COVID-19.
He said all preparations have been finalised and WHO experts will be travelling to China this weekend to prepare scientific plans with their Chinese counterparts for identifying the zoonotic source of the disease.
The mission’s objective is to advance the understanding of animal hosts for COVID-19 and ascertain how the disease jumped between animals and humans, he added.
On Tuesday, WHO also said that it would study fresh evidence on airborne transmission of the coronavirus after an international group of scientists concluded it could spread far beyond two metres.
It said it would put out a new scientific brief within days, rounding up the knowledge about how the virus can be transmitted and ensuring its guidance stays in line with the evidence.
According to CoronaTracker (which cites figures from various agencies including WHO), the total number of COVID-19 cases worldwide at the time of writing this article stood at 12,389,554 with 557,405 deaths. The total number of recoveries stood at 7,187,447.
The United States continues to head the list of badly-hit nations with 3,219,999 cases (2,837,189 cases at this time last week) and 135,822 fatalities.
Brazil is on the second spot with 1,759,103 cases and 69,254 fatalities. India has replaced Russia at the third spot with 794,842 cases and 21,653 deaths. Russia is fourth with 707,301 cases and 10,843 deaths.
Another 17 countries have recorded cases exceeding 100,000, namely Peru with 316,448 cases (11,314), Chile 306,216 (6,682), Spain 300,136 (28,401), the United Kingdom 287,621 (44,602), Mexico 282,283 (33,526), Iran 250,458 (12,305), Italy 242,363 (34,926) Pakistan 240,848 (4,983), South Africa 238,339 (3,720), Saudi Arabia 223,327 (2,100), Turkey 209,962 (5,300), Germany 199,198 (9,125), Bangladesh 175,494 (2,238), France 170,094 (29,979), Colombia 133,973 (4,714), Canada 106,805 (8,749) and Qatar 102,110 (142).
China, where the outbreak was first reported at end-December 2019, is now on the 22nd spot with 83,585 cases and 4,634 deaths.
In Southeast Asia, Indonesia has the highest number of cases at 70,736 and 3,417 deaths. The Philippines, meanwhile, has taken the second spot (from Singapore) with 51,754 cases and 1,314 deaths. Singapore has reported 45,423 cases and 26 deaths.
Thailand has 3,202 cases (58 deaths), Vietnam 369 cases (0) and Myanmar 317 cases (six).
No new cases were recorded this week in Brunei (141 cases and two deaths), Cambodia (141 cases and no death) and Laos (19 cases and no death).
According to the WHO website, its China country office was informed of cases of pneumonia that were detected in Wuhan on Dec 31, 2019. On Jan 7, the Chinese authorities confirmed that the novel coronavirus can be transmitted from human to human.
Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that cause illnesses ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-COV).
A study of the virus’ genetic sequence suggested similarities to that seen in snakes and bats. China health officials identified the Huanan Seafood Market in Wuhan as the source of the transmission of the coronavirus.
On Feb 11, WHO announced the official name of the virus, COVID-19, which is an acronym for coronavirus 2019 – CO stands for corona, VI for virus and D for disease.
On Jan 30, WHO declared the coronavirus outbreak as a global emergency. By then, it had spread to 18 countries and caused 170 deaths. On March 11, COVID-19 was declared a pandemic by WHO.
WHO has described the COVID-19 outbreak as 10 times more dangerous than the A H1N1 Influenza, also known as Swine Flu.
Swine Flu, which occurred between January 2009 and August 2010, infected more than 1.6 million people and caused 18,449 fatalities.
The International Monetary Fund has warned that the global economic recession caused by the COVID-19 pandemic will be worse than the Great Depression of the 1930s.
Translated by Rema Nambiar
Malaysia National News Agency
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