Already signs of a plateau in new Covid-19 cases, says health minister

Health Minister Dr Adham Baba warns that if compliance with the movement control order is low, fines and jail sentences may be imposed on offenders.

PETALING JAYA: Health Minister Dr Adham Baba said there are already signs of an improvement, or a “plateau”, in the number of Covid-19 cases.

He advised the public to stay at home under the two-week movement control order (MCO) enforced by the government since yesterday.

“The signs of a plateau (in the number of new cases) are already indicated.

“Even though there is an increase in the number of new cases, the number has been around the same over the past four days,” stating there were 190 cases in the earlier stages.

“Now, it has decreased to 120 and then 110. It (the curve) has started to flatten.”

Speaking to RTM1 news channel during its Berita Perdana segment this evening, Adham said observing the curve in the statistics for Covid-19 cases was the best way to see whether the disease was still spreading.

“If it is still spreading, it (the curve) will show an increase, like in some countries in Europe, where it is still increasing.”

However, Adham said to bring the disease under control, the public must strictly comply with the MCO and reduce interaction.

He repeated a statement by Defence Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob that if compliance continues to be low, the government may resort to tougher laws.

If compliance does not improve in the coming days, Adham said the authorities may take tougher action, such as imposing a RM1,000 fine, or a jail sentence of not more than six months, or both.

“Don’t let it get to that stage because we do not want Covid-19 to enter its third wave.”

On the additional RM160 million funding approved today by the government for 26 designated hospitals handling Covid-19 patients, Adham hoped the funds can be expedited.

He said the identification of new patients under investigation (PUI) requires a lot of laboratory equipment and assets.

He welcomed international assistance from China in the form of leftover equipment because Malaysia requires more assets such as face masks, hand sanitisers and early test-kits for Covid-19.

“They (China) can perhaps deploy these unused assets.”

At present, there are 900 positive cases of Covid-19. Adham announced another 110 new Covid-19 cases today.

Sixty-three of the latest cases are linked to the tabligh convention at the Sri Petaling mosque in Kuala Lumpur that drew 16,000 people, including 1,500 foreigners, held late last month.

Twenty patients are currently warded in the intensive care unit.

Adham said 15 patients have recovered and have been discharged, bringing the total to 75.