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Covid-19 Weekly Round-up: Daily new cases spike to 1,755, More than 11,000 active cases

This is a round-up of Covid-19 related matters in Malaysia and globally from Oct 31 up to 8.00 pm today. In Malaysia, case numbers have exceeded 38,000 and globally, the virus has infected more than 49 million people and caused over 1.2 million deaths. More than 200 countries and territories are affected by the pandemic.

06 Nov 2020 / 20:40 H.

KUALA LUMPUR: A staggering 1,755 new Covid-19 cases were reported in Malaysia today, with Sabah alone contributing to 1,199 infections or 68 percent of today’s positive cases.

In a post on his personal Facebook account today, Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said there was a sudden spike of cases in Sabah.

“Of the total of 1,199 positive cases reported (in Sabah), 564 cases were from prisons and a temporary detention centre,” he said.

According to the breakdown he gave, Sandakan Prison accounted for 184 cases while the temporary detention centre in Tawau contributed 372 cases and Kepayan Prison eight.

This week, Sabah continued to be the major contributor to daily new COVID-19 infections in Malaysia where total case numbers have exceeded 36,000 some 10 months after the pandemic hit the nation.

With daily new cases during the week under review hovering between 600 and 1,000, they exceeded the 1,000 mark yesterday (1,009), Wednesday (1,032) and Tuesday (1,054).

Yesterday, Sabah accounted for 564 of the new cases (55.9 percent of new cases reported yesterday); Wednesday 646 cases (62.6 percent); and Tuesday 678 cases (64.3 percent).

With the 1,755 new cases reported over the 24-hour period up to noon today, Malaysia’s total Covid-19 cases now stood at 38,189 and active cases at 11,530.

This week also saw an increase in the number of Covid-19 patients being discharged from the hospital, with the highest number – 1,000 – registered on Saturday (Oct 31).

Today, 726 patients recovered, bringing the total recovered cases to 26,380 (69.1 percent of total cases).

Yesterday 726 patients recovered, on Wednesday 820, Tuesday 875, Monday 900 and Sunday (Nov 1) 972.

Deaths, other cases

After recording fatalities on a daily basis for over a month, no deaths were reported over the weekend (Oct 31 and Nov 1). On Tuesday, however, 12 fatalities – the highest single-day figure since the Covid-19 outbreak started in Malaysia – were recorded, all in Sabah.

Today, two more deaths were reported, one each in Sabah and Kedah, bringing the Covid-19 death toll to 277 (0.7 percent of total cases).

Yesterday, six fatalities were reported, on Wednesday eight, Tuesday 12, Monday two, and zero on Sunday and Saturday.

Currently, 78 Covid-19 patients are being treated in the intensive care unit with 28 requiring respiratory aid.

To date, a total of 483 cases with travel history to Sabah has been reported since Sept 20.

R-Naught Value

At his media briefing on Covid-19 developments in Malaysia on Wednesday, Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah once again stressed the importance of lowering the R-naught (R0) value to less than 0.5 in order to flatten the nation’s Covid-19 curve.

At the start of the third wave on Sept 22, the R0 stood at 2.2. Two weeks later, it declined to about 1.5 and yesterday 1.0.

The decrease in the R0 value is attributed to the swift implementation of the Conditional Movement Control Order in states that have seen a spike in new cases.

Dr Noor Hisham is confident that the R0 value will dip to below 0.5 in two to three weeks’ time. But, as he pointed out, for this to happen the public must cooperate by complying with the standard operating procedures such as wearing a mask when in public places, observing physical distancing and washing hands frequently, as well as going out only if it is absolutely necessary.

The R0 value refers to the infectivity or contagious level of a virus at the start of an outbreak within a community. Lowering the R0 value to below 1.0 will help in efforts to break the Covid-19 chain of infections in Malaysia.

Latest status on clusters

In Sabah, out of the 1,999 new cases today, 663 are from existing clusters and a new cluster called Mampulut.

Penang recorded 192 new cases today, Selangor 164 cases including four from the new Fores cluster; Labuan 59 cases; Negeri Sembilan 45 cases; Kedah 19 cases; Perak 18 cases including seven from the new Rengas cluster; and Kuala Lumpur 17 cases including one from the new Fores cluster.

Sarawak recorded 17 cases today; Putrajaya nine cases; Terengganu eight cases; Johor three cases; and Melaka two cases.

Meanwhile, Senior Minister (Security) Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaacob told a media briefing on Wednesday that Malaysia’s borders are still closed to foreigners, including those working in this country who, currently, are in their respective home nation.

He said only those who have secured the approval of the Immigration Department are allowed entry into Malaysia.

The ban also applies to workers from Bangladesh who hold long-term work passes. On Sept 7, Malaysia enforced a ruling prohibiting the entry of foreigners from nations that have recorded over 150,000 Covid-19 cases.

According to recent media reports, more than 25,000 Bangladeshi workers with Malaysian work passes have appealed to their government to help them to return to Malaysia.

Meanwhile, between July 24 and Nov 5, a total of 61,612 individuals returned to Malaysia through the nation’s main entry points. Currently, 9,312 individuals are undergoing mandatory quarantine.

Global Covid-19 Statistics

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 49,122,214 (45,429,027 cases at the same time last Friday) and 1,241,143 deaths (1,187,582 last Friday). The total number of recoveries stood at 35,038,682.

The United States continues to head the list of badly-hit nations with 9,926,637 cases (9,214,994 last Friday) and 241,026 deaths (234,201 last week).

India is on the second spot with 8,411,724 cases and 125,029 deaths.

Brazil is third with 5,614,258 cases and 161,779 fatalities. Russia is fourth with 1,733,440 cases and 29,887 deaths.

Another 48 countries (last week 44) have recorded cases exceeding 100,000, namely:

France 1,601,367 cases (9,037 deaths), Spain 1,365,895 (38,486), Argentina 1,217,028 (32,766), United Kingdom 1,123,197 (48,120), Colombia 1,117,977 (32,209), Mexico 949,197 (93,772), Peru 914,722 (34,730), Italy 824,879 (40,192), South Africa 732,414 (19,677), Iran 654,936 (36,985), Germany 619,116 (11,190), Chile 516,582 (14,404), Iraq 489,571 (11,175), Belgium 468,213 (12,331), Poland 466,679 (6,842), Ukraine 430,467 (7,924), Indonesia 425,796 (14,348), Bangladesh 416,006 (6,021), Czechia 391,945 (4,330), Holland 390,488 (7,769), Philippines 389,725 (7,409), Turkey 386,820 (10,639), Saudi Arabia 349,386 (5,489), Pakistan 340,251 (6,923), Israel 317,863 (2,639), Romania 276,802 (7,540), Canada 251,338 (10,381), Morocco 240,951 (4,059), Switzerland 202,504 (2,628), Nepal 185,974 (1,052), Equador 171,783 (12,730), Portugal 161,350 (2,740), Bolivia 142,062 (8,768), Sweden 141,764 (6,002), United Arab Emirates 138,599 (508), Panama 136,567 (2,756), Qatar 133,619 (232), Austria 132,515 (1,268), Kuwait 129,638 (799), Dominican Republic 128,824 (2,260), Oman 117,167 (1,286), Costa Rica 114,367 (1,444), Kazakhstan 114,235 (1,857), Guatemala 109,849 (3,766), Egypt 108,530 (6,329), Japan 103,838 (1,794), Belarus 103,295 (998) and Armenia 101,773 (1,506).

China, where the outbreak was first reported at end-December 2019, is now on the 59th spot with 86,151 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 58,043 cases while its death toll remains at 28. Myanmar, where Covid-19 cases are rising rapidly, has reported 57,935 cases and 1,352 deaths. (Last week at this time, Myanmar reported 41,008 cases and 1,005 deaths.)

Thailand has recorded 3,810 cases while its death toll remains at 59, followed by Vietnam with 1,207 cases and 35 deaths.

Cambodia’s cases rose to 292 and its death tally remains zero. Brunei’s tally of 141 cases and two deaths, and Laos’ 23 cases and zero fatality remain 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. -Bernama

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