Wednesday, 25 Nov 2020
FEATURES
30/10/2020 10:04 PM

By Melati Mohd Ariff

This is a round-up of COVID-19 related matters in Malaysia and globally from Oct 24 up to 8.00 pm today. In Malaysia, case numbers have exceeded 30,000 and globally, the virus has infected more than 45 million people and caused over a million deaths. More than 200 countries and territories are affected by the pandemic.

KUALA LUMPUR (Bernama) – About 10 months after the COVID-19 pandemic hit Malaysia, total positive cases reported in the country have gone past the 30,000 mark while active cases have swelled to over 10,000.

In fact, during the week under review, the number of new daily cases reported touched four figures on two days – Saturday Oct 24 (1,228) and Monday Oct 26 (1,240).

And, as has been the trend lately, Sabah accounted for the bulk of the new cases on those two occasions – 889 cases on Saturday and 927 cases on Monday.

After the past few weeks’ high numbers, yesterday’s new cases came as a relief. Over the 24-hour period up to noon yesterday, 649 new cases were recorded, 352 of which were in Sabah.


A soldier on duty at the Sungai Emas Flats in Kuala Langat which is under EMCO. --fotoBERNAMA (2020) ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Over the 24-hour period up to noon today, 799 new cases were recorded, all local transmissions, bringing the total number of COVID-19 cases in Malaysia to 30,889 and active cases to 10,392.

Sabah accounted for 466 of the new cases reported today.

The Ministry of Health, meanwhile, deserves praise for the consistently high number of patients who have recovered and have been discharged from hospital over the week. Today, 491 patients were discharged, bringing the cumulative total of recovered cases to 20,248 or 65.5 percent of total cases.

 

FATALITIES, OTHER CASES


A frontline health worker getting ready to screen the occupants of Plaza Hentian Kajang. --fotoBERNAMA (2020) ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

After recording new fatalities for days in a row, no death was announced yesterday. Today, however, three deaths were reported, bringing the death toll to 249 or 0.81 percent of total cases.

On Wednesday, eight deaths were reported; Tuesday two; Monday seven; Sunday eight; and Saturday seven. Out of the 35 deaths reported this week, 33 occurred in Sabah and one each in Perak and Selangor.

Currently, 90 patients are being treated in the intensive care unit with 20 requiring respiratory aid.

New daily case numbers reported this week are as follows: 649 (yesterday), 801 (Wednesday), 835 (Tuesday), 1,240 (Monday), 823 (Sunday) and 1,228 (Saturday).

As for recovered cases, 685 were discharged yesterday, 573 (Wednesday), 674 (Tuesday), 691 (Monday), 579 (Sunday) and 671 (Saturday).

 

MUST BRING DOWN R0 VALUE


A resident of Kampung Haji Baki in Kuching holding a notice urging people to stay at home. --fotoBERNAMA (2020) ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

During his media briefing on Wednesday, Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said the R-naught or R0 value for COVID-19 infectivity in Malaysia has been on the decline since the enforcement of the Conditional Movement Control Order (CMCO) in certain states. (The R-naught value indicates the infectivity of a virus at the start of an outbreak within the community.)

The R0 value has reduced from 2.2 at the onset of the third wave to 1.5 last week and dropped further down to 1.2 yesterday.

Citing an example of the infectivity of the COVID-19 virus at an R0 value of 1.2, Dr Noor Hisham said if 100 were to be infected now, during the next cycle 120 will be infected.

He said the R0 value should be reduced further to less than 1.0 and if possible to 0.3.

“If we are able to lower it to 0.3, we can flatten the curve. Right now we are at the peak and in another three to four weeks, we will be able to reduce the case numbers and return to double-digit or maybe even single-digit figures,” he explained.

Dr Noor Hisham first announced Malaysia was facing the onset of the third wave of infections during his media briefing on Oct 2. On that day, the nation recorded 287 new cases.

 

LATEST STATUS ON NEW CLUSTERS


Saguking in Labuan has been placed under EMCO. --fotoBERNAMA (2020) ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

A total of 247 clusters have emerged since the COVID-19 pandemic struck Malaysia and so far, 114 of them have ended.

Out of the 133 existing clusters, 93 have stopped contributing to new cases while 40 are still active, including the eight new clusters announced today.

Three of the new clusters are in Sabah, two in Selangor and one each in Negeri Sembilan, Labuan and Johor.

In Sabah, 70 of its 466 new cases today were contributed by its new clusters, namely Rumah Merah, Telipok and Sembulan.

Out of the 150 new cases reported in Selangor today, 76 were from the new Merpati and Astaka clusters.

Labuan reported 65 cases today, including 11 from its new Titian cluster.

Penang reported 35 cases; Negeri Sembilan 23 including two from its new Gala cluster; Kuala Lumpur 19; Sarawak 16; Perak 10; Johor nine including five from its new Meldrum cluster; Kedah five; and Putrajaya one.

 

CMCO, EMCO, QUARANTINE


Malaysian Civil Defence personnel and health workers conducting house-to-house checks at Jalan Emas 31 and Jalan Emas 32 in Kuala Langat. --fotoBERNAMA (2020) ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

The CMCO that was enforced in Selangor, Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya on Oct 26 has been extended by another two weeks until Nov 9.

The CMCO in Labuan, which was supposed to end on Oct 30, has also been extended to Nov 13.

CMCO has also been enforced in Nilai, Negeri Sembilan, starting Oct 28 until Nov 10. Senior Minister (Security Cluster) Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaacob said Putra Point in Nilai will be placed under Enhanced MCO (EMCO) as two workers' dormitories there were contributing to a spike in positive cases.

EMCO has been declared in three villages in Kudat, Sabah, namely Kampung Pengaraban, Kampung Tanjung Kapur and Kampung Landong Ayang, starting on Oct 30 up to Nov 12.

Meanwhile, between July 24 and Oct 29, a total of 57,396 individuals returned from overseas through the nation’s international entry points and they were placed under compulsory 14-day quarantine at 63 hotels and 17 other premises. Currently, 9.221 individuals are undergoing quarantine.

 

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 the World Health Organisation), the total number of COVID-19 cases worldwide at the time of writing this article stood at 45,429,027 (42,048,648 cases at the same time last Friday) and 1,187,582 deaths (1,143,581 last Friday). The total number of recoveries stood at 33,035,620.

The United States continues to head the list of badly-hit nations with 9,214,994 cases (8,661,722 last Friday) and 234,201 deaths (222,754 last week).

India is on the second spot with 8,088,851 cases and 121,131 deaths. 

Brazil is third with 5,496,402 cases and 159,033 fatalities. Russia is fourth with 1,599,976 cases and 27,656 deaths.

Another 44 countries (last week 43) have recorded cases exceeding 100,000, namely: 

France 1,282,769 cases (36,020 deaths), Spain 1,238,922 (35,639), Argentina 1,143,800 (30,442),  Colombia 1,053,122 (30,926), United Kingdom 965,340 (45,955), Mexico 912,811 (90,773), Peru 897,594 (34,362), South Africa 721,770 (19,164), Italy 616,595 (38,122), Iran 596,941 (34,113), Chile 507,050 (14,118 Germany 498,353 (10,435), Iraq 467,755 (10,815), Indonesia 406,945 (13,782), Bangladesh 404,760 (5,886), Belgium 392,258 (11,308), Philippines 378,933 (7,185), Turkey 370,832 (10,099), Ukraine 378,729 (7,041), Saudi Arabia 346,482 (5,363), Pakistan 332,186 (6,795), Holland 330,255 (7,258), Poland 319,205 (5,149) Israel 313,590 (2,511), Czechia 310,068 (2,862), Canada 228,542 (10,074), Romania 229,040 (6,681), Morocco 212,038 (3,572), Equador 166,302 (12,622), Nepal 164,718 (904), Switzerland 145,044 (2,200), Bolivia 141,321 (8,694), Qatar 132,150 (231), Panama 132,045 (2,678), United Arab Emirates 130,336 (488), Portugal 132,616  (2,428), Dominican Republic 125,93  (2,234), Kuwait 124,66 (767), Sweden 121,167 (5,934), Oman 114,434 (1,208), Kazakhstan 111,100 (1,825), Egypt 107,209 (6,247), Costa Rica 106,553 (1,340) and Guatemala 106,790 (3,704). 

China, where the outbreak was first reported at end-December 2019, is now on the 56th spot with 85,915 cases while its death toll remains unchanged at 4,634. 

In Southeast Asia, the Philippines and Indonesia have joined the countries with more than 100,000 cases. Next is Singapore with 58,003 cases while its death toll remains at 28.  Myanmar, where COVID-19 cases are rising rapidly, has reported 49,072 cases and 1,172 deaths. (Last week at this time, Myanmar reported 41,008 cases and 1,005 deaths.)

Thailand has recorded 3,775 cases while its death toll remains at 59, followed by Vietnam with 1,173 cases and 35 deaths.

Cambodia’s cases rose to 290 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 much 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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