Covid-19 peak may already have passed, says health DG

Health director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah says a medical team from China will arrive in two weeks to exchange experiences on handling the pandemic.

PUTRAJAYA: Health director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said the peak for Covid-19 infections might already be over, citing the steady decline of positive cases over the past week.

This comes after JP Morgan, the World Health Organization and the Malaysian Institute for Economic Research (MIER) had forecast Malaysia’s Covid-19 cases to peak in the middle of this month.

Noor Hisham said the ministry’s prediction was based on the daily data it had been gathering, adding that the trend in infections had been quite stable.

“We didn’t see any exponential surge and last week was perhaps the peak because now we see that our cases are becoming fewer and fewer. So, that’s a good sign for us,” he said at a press conference today.

He added that the infective rate ⁠— known as “R nought” or “R0” ⁠— of Covid-19 in Malaysia had noticeably diminished compared to before the implementation of the movement control order (MCO).

He said the Covid-19 R0 was 3.55 prior to the MCO, which meant that a positive case would have an infection rate of 3.55 persons.

“We’ve managed to bring down the R0 from 3.55 to 1. And we expect that the R0 will be 0.9 by April 14.”

He explained that an R0 of 0.9 meant that a positive case would only have an infection rate of less than one person, adding that it showed their success in controlling the virus’ infectivity.

He said this showed the effectiveness of the MCO in breaking the chain of Covid-19 infections, adding that the ministry had advised the prime minister to extend the MCO for another two weeks.

This, he said, would allow the ministry to conduct all its required efforts to contain the virus and bring the R0 further down below 0.9.

“Public health experts have advised that to control and break the chain of Covid-19, perhaps we need to consider three cycles of incubation of 14 days, which is about six weeks,” he said.

Noor Hisham also said a medical team from China is set to arrive in two weeks to exchange experiences on handling the pandemic.

He said there were things both countries could learn from each other, adding that Malaysia was looking into collaborating with China to conduct further studies on the virus.

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