Monday, 30 Nov 2020
FEATURES
09/10/2020 09:06 PM

By Melati Mohd Ariff

This is a round-up of COVID-19 related matters in Malaysia and globally from Oct 3 up to 8.00 pm today. In Malaysia, case numbers have exceeded 14,000 and globally, the virus has infected more than 36 million people and caused over a million deaths. More than 200 countries and territories are affected by the pandemic.

KUALA LUMPUR (Bernama) – This week, daily new COVID-19 cases rose in numbers never seen before in this country, with the highest – 691 – recorded on Tuesday (Oct 6).

Three states, Sabah, Kedah and Selangor, continued to rage as COVID-19 hotspots. The Ministry of Health’s daily COVID-19 reports, which also display the nation’s map to indicate the distribution of new cases, show that almost every state is affected.  

Over the 24-hour period up to noon today, 354 new cases were reported, bringing the total number of cases to 14,722. Active cases have ballooned to 3,863.

Three new clusters were announced today, namely the Atap cluster (Sabah), Bah Lada cluster (Perak) and Bah Sahabat cluster (Terengganu).


A Ministry of Health worker putting a pink wristband on a flat dweller in Pantai Dalam, Kuala Lumpur. --fotoBERNAMA (2020) ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Yesterday, five more clusters were announced – two in Sabah, Tujuh Serangkai and Tanamera clusters; one in Kuala Lumpur, Jalan Pantai cluster; one in Sarawak, Bah Arnab cluster; and one in Labuan, Bah Bangat cluster.

 

DEATHS, OTHER CASES

Today, Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah announced six new deaths in Sabah, all involving Malaysians (three men and three women). Five deaths were reported in Sabah yesterday. Malaysia’s COVID-19 death toll now stood at 152. 

One death was reported on Saturday (Oct 3) involving a Malaysian male in Tawau, Sabah, and on Tuesday (Oct 6) there were four fatalities – three in Sabah and one in Penang. One of the Sabah fatalities was a one-year-old Malaysian child who was tested positive for COVID-19 on Oct 5 and died in Hospital Semporna on the same day.

Today, 188 patients were discharged, bringing the total number of recovered cases to 10,707 (72.7 percent of total cases). Sixty-eight patients are being treated in the intensive care unit with 25 requiring respiratory aid.

Dr Noor Hisham, meanwhile, said there was no need, for now, to reopen the low-risk COVID-19 quarantine and treatment centre at the Malaysia Agro Exposition Park (MAEPS) in Serdang despite the hike in active cases as Hospital Sungai Buloh still has the capacity to accommodate patients.

“If the need arises, we just need three days to reopen the centre (MAEPS),” he said.

For the record, new COVID-19 cases reported this week are as follows: yesterday 375, Wednesday 489, Tuesday 691, Monday 432,  Sunday 293, and Saturday 317.

Meanwhile, 324 of the new cases reported between Sept 20 and Oct 9 have a history of travel to Sabah.

 

THIRD WAVE  


A total of 250 teachers in Labuan underwent COVID-19 swab tests recently. --fotoBERNAMA (2020) ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Dr Noor Hisham described the third wave of COVID-19 infections sweeping over the nation as more challenging than before. In his daily COVID-19 report today, he said most of the cases were detected in prisons and the subsequent clusters, Benteng LD in Sabah and Tembok in Kedah, have caused a sharp spike in the daily case numbers. He also said that Sabah is now the focal point of the fight against COVID-19. 

In his personal Facebook account on Thursday, Dr Noor Hisham wrote the following: “We’ve now entered the third wave of #COVID19. Once again, we must work together to break this chain of infections. #KitaJagaKita.”

The first time he spoke about the third wave was on Oct 2 when Malaysia recorded 287 new cases. He had said that the rising trend in COVID-19 infections was also evident in other countries.

Dr Noor Hisham has previously appealed to Malaysians to unite to stem the rise in COVID-19 cases.

“We cannot win this war to contain or mitigate the virus transmission without public support. All we ask is for the public to ‘Stay at Home’ and if that is not possible then please comply with the simple SOP; wear a mask, safe distancing and frequent hand washing.

“Failure to comply will definitely increase the risk of infection and disease transmission. The public plays a crucial role by fully complying with all SOPs set, regardless of who the person is.”

 

CURRENT STATUS ON CLUSTERS

According to Dr Noor Hisham, Malaysia has thus far reported a total of 152 clusters, out of which 102 have ended.

Currently, 46 clusters, including today’s three new ones, are active.

In Sabah, the clusters that reported new cases today are Ramai-Ramai (22), Laut (five), Benteng LD (13), Tujuh Serangkai (five), Laut (four) and Tanamera (two). Sabah accounted for 274 of the new cases reported today.

Selangor today accounted for 24 cases, including one case from the Meru cluster and one case from the Benteng PK cluster.

Kedah only recorded 10 cases with seven from the Tembok cluster and three from the Bah Sintok cluster.


A worker sanitising a classroom in a kindergarten in Terengganu. --fotoBERNAMA (2020) ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Sarawak reported 10 cases, Kuala Lumpur eight cases, Penang eight cases, Johor five cases, Terengganu five cases, Negeri Sembilan four cases, Putrajaya two cases, Perak one case and Labuan one case.

 

CMCO IN RED ZONES


Police manning a road block in Taman Sri Andalas in Klang to ensure compliance with CMCO. --fotoBERNAMA (2020) ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

A 14-day Conditional Movement Control Order (CMCO) has been imposed in four red zones in the country – three in Sabah (Sandakan, Papar and Tuaran) and Klang, Selangor – starting today to stem the transmission of COVID-19.  

It will also enable the health authorities to carry out targeted case detection activities.

During the CMCO period, movements in or out of the four zones are not allowed except for those involved in essential services and factory operations.  

The four red zones have a total population of 1.9 million.

 

GLOBAL COVID-19 STATISTICS


Current worldwide statistics on COVID-19 and COVID-19 case summary in Malaysia. www.coronatracker.com

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 36,751,502 (34,517,055 cases at the same time last Friday) and 1,066,856 deaths (1,028,194 last Friday). The total number of recoveries stood at 25,666,624.

The United States continues to head the list of badly-hit nations with 7,833,763 cases (7, 494,671 last Friday) and 217,738 deaths (212,660 last week).

India is now on the second spot with 6,903,812 cases and 106,521 deaths. 

Brazil is third with 5,029,539 cases and 144,767 fatalities. Russia is fourth with 1,260,112 cases and 22,056  deaths.

Another 38 countries (last week 34) have recorded cases exceeding 100,000, namely: 

Colombia 886,179 cases (27,331 deaths), Spain 884,381 (32,688), Argentina 856,369 (22,710), Peru 838,614 (33,098), Mexico 804,488 (83,096), South Africa 686,891 (17,408), France 671,638 (32,521), United Kingdom 561,815 (42,592), Iran 488,236  (27,888), Chile 4765,016 (13,167), Iraq 394,566 (9,683),  Bangladesh 374,592 (5,460), Italy 338,398 (36,083), Saudi Arabia 338,132 (4,972), Philippines 331,869  (6,069), Turkey 330,753 (8,667),  Indonesia 320,564 (11,580), Pakistan 317,595 (6,552), Germany 315,514 (9,667), Israel 285,336  (1,864)Ukraine 244,734 (4,690), Canada 175,559 (9,557), Holland 155,810 (6,531), Romania 145,700 (5,247), Equador 145,045 (12,141), Belgium 143,596 (10,126), Morocco 142,953 (2,486), Bolivia 137,969 (8,228), Qatar 127,394 (218), Panama 118,054 (2,463), Dominican Republic 116,872 (2,163), Poland 111,599 (2,867), Kuwait 109,441 (642), Kazakhstan 108,561 (1,746), Egypt 104,156  (6,017), Oman 104,129 (1,009), United Arab Emirates 102,929 (438) and Czech Republic 100,757 (869). 

China, where the outbreak was first reported at end-December 2019, is now on the 43rd spot with 85,521 cases while its death toll remains at 4,634. 

In Southeast Asia, the Philippines and Indonesia have joined the countries with more than 100,000 cases. Next is Singapore with 57,849 cases while its death tally remains at 27, followed by Myanmar with 22,445 cases and 535 deaths. (Last week at this time, Myanmar reported 14,383 cases and 321 deaths.)

Thailand has recorded 3,622 cases while its death toll remains at 59, followed by Vietnam with 1,100 cases and 35 deaths.

Cambodia’s cases rose to 281 and its death tally remains zero. Also unchanged are Brunei’s tally at 141 cases and two deaths, and Laos’ 23 cases and zero fatality.

 

COVID-19 BACKGROUND

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

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