Monday, 18 Jan 2021
FEATURES
28/11/2020 12:04 AM

By Melati Mohd Ariff

This is a round-up of COVID-19 related matters in Malaysia and globally from Nov 21 up to 8.00 pm today. In Malaysia, case numbers have exceeded 61,000 and globally, the virus has infected more than 61 million people and caused over 1.4 million deaths. More than 200 countries and territories are affected by the pandemic.

KUALA LUMPUR (Bernama) – New daily cases reported today returned to four digits after recording three-digit figures over the last two days.

Beginning with three positive cases that were reported on Jan 25, Malaysia now has a cumulative total of 61,861 COVID-19 cases, including the 1,109 new cases reported over the 24-hour period up to noon today. Active cases now stand at 11,307.

With this, Malaysia has overtaken neighbouring Singapore to occupy the 83rd spot (84th spot last Friday) in the list of countries hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. Singapore with 58,199 cases is at the 85th spot.

Malaysia, however, has reason to rejoice in the substantial number of recoveries recorded this week. Yesterday, a record-breaking 2,555 patients were discharged from hospital, and today, another 1,148 cases recovered, bringing the total number of recovered cases to 50,204. 

For the week under review, the breakdown of discharged cases is as follows: Wednesday 2,348, Tuesday 1,673, Monday 883, Sunday (Nov 22) 1,104 and Saturday (Nov 21) 1,405.


Soldiers putting up barbed wire fencing at Taman Telipok Ria in Kota Kinabalu where an EMCO was declared starting Nov 27. --fotoBERNAMA (2020) ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Sabah accounted for the highest number of recoveries today at 738 cases, followed by Selangor (223) and Negeri Sembilan (51).

Yesterday, Sabah accounted for 2,126  recoveries and on Wednesday 1,934.

Meanwhile, new cases reported this week had hit a record high of 2,188 on Tuesday, with the reason for the spike being the Teratai cluster involving workers of Top Glove Corporation Bhd in Selangor. This cluster alone recorded 1,511 cases that day.

The breakdown for this week’s new cases is as follows: today 1,109, yesterday 935, Wednesday 970, Tuesday 2,188, Monday 1,884, Sunday 1,096, Saturday 1,041.


Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah. --fotoBERNAMA (2020) ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah told a media briefing today that Sabah reported the highest number of new cases at 411 (39.8 percent), followed by Selangor 175 cases (15.8 percent) and Negeri Sembilan 167 cases (15.1 percent).

 

FATALITIES AND OTHER CASES


A screen depicting information on the COVID-19 vaccines. --fotoBERNAMA (2020) ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Two more deaths were announced today, which brought Malaysia’s COVID-19 death toll to 350 (0.6 percent of total cases).

The breakdown for this week’s fatalities is as follows: today two, yesterday three, Wednesday four, Tuesday four, Monday two, Sunday three, Saturday three.

Out of the 21 deaths reported over the week, 17 occurred in Sabah, two in Penang and two in Labuan.

Currently, 113 COVID-19 patients are in the intensive care unit, with 41 requiring respiratory aid.

 

BRINGING TERATAI CLUSTER UNDER CONTROL

The main reason for Malaysia’s daily four-figure new COVID-19 cases is the Teratai cluster which is linked to workers of the Top Glove factory.

The cluster was first announced by the Ministry of Health on Nov 7 and it involved the districts of Klang, Petaling and Hulu Langat in Selangor. A total of 74 positive cases was detected then.

The cluster went on to report a spike in cases and the authorities had to enforce an Enhanced Movement Control Order (EMCO) on Nov 17 at the hostels in Meru, Klang, where some of the factory workers stay.

As of Nov 25, the Teratai cluster had recorded 4,063 COVID-19 cases.

For the record, the cluster accounted for 298 of the 402 new cases reported in Selangor on Nov 21; Nov 22, 502 of the 603 new cases; Nov 23, 1,067 of the 1,203 new cases; and Nov 24, 1,511 of 1,623 new cases


This row of shops in Taman Sri Limau, Lunas, is closed following the enforcement of EMCO starting Nov 27. --fotoBERNAMA (2020) ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

On Wednesday, Senior Minister (Security) Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob announced that a special task force would be set up to oversee the screening and quarantine procedures of all Top Glove factory workers, as well as the temporary closure of all 28 Top Glove factories.

The task force will comprise National Security Council (Selangor), Selangor Health Department, Klang District Office, Klang Municipal Council and Klang district police headquarters personnel.

Top Glove has a total of 11,215 workers and as of Nov 24, a total of 5,795 screenings were carried out. As of Nov 24, 20 Top Glove factories were closed temporarily.

The company has also been directed to conduct screenings on 2,263 workers who live outside the EMCO area to prevent the virus from spreading to the community.

Ismail Sabri also announced that all foreign workers in Malaysia must undergo the COVID-19 swab test. For a start, 888,342 workers in Kuala Lumpur, Labuan, Penang, Selangor, Negeri Sembilan and Sabah will undergo screening.

 

COVID-19 CASES, CLUSTERS LATEST STATUS


MOH staff waiting at the premises of Dewan Wawasan Penjara in Seremban that has been turned into a low-risk treatment and quarantine centre. --fotoBERNAMA (2020) ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Out of the 349 clusters in Malaysia, 173 have ended including one today namely Omadal cluster. As of today, there are 176 active clusters, including the four new ones reported today.

Forty-seven clusters reported new cases today, including Tapak Bina Puteh Lama cluster (118 cases), Jalan Haruan cluster (116) and Jalan Tuaran cluster (43).

Sabah clusters reported 441 cases today including 43 from the Jalan Tuaran cluster. Selangor reported 175 new cases, out of which 99 are from existing clusters.

Negeri Sembilan reported 167 new cases, 118 of which are from the new Jalan Haruan cluster that involves factory workers. Kuala Lumpur reported 154 new cases and one new cluster namely Tapak Bina Puteh Lama – as of today, 820 individuals were screened and 139 tested positive.

Penang reported 64 new cases and one new cluster, Beringin, involving the workers of two factories. As of today, a total of 3,116 individuals were screened and 37 were found positive.

Meanwhile, Perak recorded 42 new cases, Johor 33, Kedah 25, Kelantan five and Pahang three.

 

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 61,412,579 (57,324,718 cases at the same time last Friday) and 1,439,993 deaths (1, 367,435 last Friday). The total number of recoveries stood at 42,483,969.

The United States continues to head the list of badly-hit nations with 3,249,447 cases (12,072,560 last Friday) and 269,597 deaths (258,354 last week).

India is on the second spot with 9,309,871 cases and 135,752 deaths. 

Brazil is third with 6,204,570 cases and 171,497 fatalities. Russia is next with 2,215,533 cases and 38,558 deaths, followed by France with 2,183,660 cases and 50,957  deaths.

Another 59 countries have recorded cases exceeding 100,000, namely: 

Spain 1,637,844 cases (44,374 deaths), United Kingdom 1,574,562 (57,031), Italy 1,509,875 (52,850), Argentina 1,399,431 (37,941), Colombia 1,280,487 (36,019), Mexico 1,078,594 (104,242), Germany 1,005,307 (15,767), Peru 956,347 (35,785), Poland 941,112 (15,568), Iran 908,346 (46,689), South Africa 778,571 (21,289), Ukraine 677,189 (11,717), Belgium 564,967 (16,077), Chile 545,662 (15,235), Iraq 544,670 (12,125), Indonesia 516,753 (16,352), Czechia 511,520 (7,779), Turkey 503,738 (13,014), Holland  503,123 (9,184), Bangladesh 456,438 (6,524), Romania 449,349 (10,541), Philippines 424,297  (8,242), Pakistan 386,198 (7,843), Saudi Arabia 356,389 (5,840), Canada 353,097 (11,799), Morocco 340,684 (5,619), Israel 333,084 (2,834), Switzerland 313,978 (4,509), Portugal 280,394 (4,209),  Austria 266,038 (2,773), Sweden 236,355 (6622), Nepal 227,640 (1,412), Jordan 203,021 (2,509), Hungary 192,047 (4,229), Ecuador 188,138 (13,316), United Arab Emirates 163,967 (564 ), Panama 160,287  (3,018), Serbia 148,214 (1,366), Bolivia 144,390 (8,939), Kuwait 141,547 (872), Dominican Republic 140,922 (2,317), Qatar 138,066 (237),  Japan 137,261 (2,022), Bulgaria 136,628 (3,529),  Costa Rica 135,742 (1,679), Armenia 130,870 (2,068), Belarus 130,012 (1,128), Kazakhstan 129,213 (1,990),  Oman 122,579 (1,391), Lebanon 122,579 (974), Guatemala 120,685 (4,133), Georgia 118,690 (1,124), Egypt 114,107 (6,585), Croatia 111,617 (1,501), Ethiopia 107,109 (1,664), Honduras 106,116 (2,888), Azerbaijan 102,396 (1,224), Moldova 101,203 (1,209) and  Venezuela 100,817 (880). 

China, where the outbreak was first reported at end-December 2019, is now on the 68th spot with 86,495 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 Myanmar with 85,205 cases (last Friday 73,322) and 1,846 deaths (1,650 last Friday).

Singapore now has 58,199 cases while its death toll remains at 28.  Thailand has recorded 3,961 cases while its death toll remains at 60, followed by Vietnam with 1,331 cases and 35 deaths.

Cambodia’s cases rose slightly to 307 and its death tally remains zero. Brunei’s tally of 141 cases and two deaths remains unchanged while cases in Laos have increased to 39. Its zero fatality remains unchanged.

 

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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