Covid-19 Weekly Round-up: Hike in Klang Valley cases cause for concern

Covid-19 Weekly Round-up: Hike in Klang Valley cases cause for concern

KUALA LUMPUR: The sharp rise in new Covid-19 cases this week, especially in Selangor and Kuala Lumpur, has led to Malaysia’s cumulative case number shooting past the 800,000 mark.

Yesterday, the deadly coronavirus caused 8,868 new infections nationwide, bringing the total number of cases to 808,658. With the spike in new cases, active cases have surged to 77,275.

Malaysia’s daily new case figures were around 6,000 earlier this month before they rose to 7,654 on July 6 and 7,097 on July 7.

The last time over 8,000 new cases were seen was on June 3 when 8,209 new infections were reported and the active caseload stood at 83,331. The highest-ever single-day figure was recorded on May 29 when 9,020 new cases were reported.

Yesterday, Selangor, as usual, reported the highest number of new cases at 4,152. Out of this, 2,662 cases or 64 percent involved close contacts of the index cases.

Kuala Lumpur too has been reporting four-figure new infections this week, with 1,133 cases yesterday, 1,005 cases on July 7 and 1,550 cases on July 6.

Here is the daily breakdown of new cases reported nationwide this week under review: July 3 (6,658), July 4 (6,045), July 5 (6,387), July 6 (7,654), July (7,097) and July 8 (8,868).

Malaysia is also burdened with 855 active clusters. As of yesterday, the nation had recorded a total of 2,999 clusters, of which 2,144 have ended.

According to Ministry of Health data, this week 117 new clusters were detected and 74 of them, or 63.2 percent, were linked to the workplace.

On July 6, two new clusters in Negeri Sembilan and Selangor reported a substantial number of Covid-19 cases. The Lorong Senawang Empat industrial cluster (in Seremban and Port Dickson) involving factory workers reported 324 cases, while the Damanlela construction site cluster in Kepong recorded 630 cases.

Yesterday, 29 new clusters were reported, 19 of which were related to the workplace, eight community, one education and one high-risk group.

The spike in active cases is also haunting hospitals handling Covid-19 cases. Yesterday, 952 cases were referred to the intensive care unit, with 445 of them requiring respiratory aid.

In terms of fatalities, yesterday was a record-breaking day as 135 deaths were reported. The highest number of deaths reported previously was on June 2 with 126 cases.

In fact, Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah, in a media statement issued on June 7, expressed his concern that medical and health frontliners were suffering from burnout symptoms as they have been handling a high number of Covid-19 cases over an extended period of time.

He said the average number of new daily cases for seven days (June 30 to July 6, 2021) was 6,539, and “it is still high compared to the 4,000-daily threshold target for the PPN (National Recovery Plan)”.

He said the 4,000-daily threshold was determined based on the capacity of hospitals to face unforeseen situations and the current rate of hospital admissions and discharges.

He said the states and federal territories recording more than 12.2 new cases per 100,000 population were Kuala Lumpur, Selangor, Negeri Sembilan, Labuan, Melaka, Putrajaya, Sarawak and Pahang.

“What’s more worrying is the ICU admission trend which is still high. It has not shown any significant decrease since the 23rd epidemiological week (June 6 to 12, 2021) till now. ICU bed utilisation still remains at over 90 percent,” he said.

With its Covid-19 cases totalling 808,658, Malaysia now stood at the 34th spot in the list of 216 countries affected by the pandemic. Just ahead of Malaysia are Japan (811,712 cases) and Israel (844,684 cases).

Meanwhile, six states – Perlis, Perak, Kelantan, Terengganu, Pahang and Penang – have transitioned to movement control under the second phase of PPN. It was also announced that Sabah will proceed to the second phase tomorrow (June 10).

To move to the second phase, the daily threshold of Covid-19 cases in the state or federal territory has to stay below 4,000, bed utilisation at ICUs must be below 75 percent and 10 percent of the population must be fully vaccinated.

The PPN is a four-phased road map to steer Malaysia out of the movement control and Covid-19 pandemic.

Other Covid-19 developments in Malaysia

Out of the 8,868 new cases reported yesterday, Selangor accounted for 4,152 cases and Kuala Lumpur 1,133.

For the record, eight districts in Selangor (Hulu Langat, Petaling, Gombak, Sepang, Klang, Kuala Selangor, Hulu Langat and Hulu Selangor) are under Enhanced Movement Control Order (EMCO) from July 3 to 16. EMCO has also been enforced in a total of 14 localities in Kuala Lumpur.

Dr Noor Hisham has said that the EMCO would allow targeted screenings to be carried out, thus the hike in new infections in Selangor and Kuala Lumpur this week.

The daily breakdown of new cases reported by Selangor this week is as follows: July 3 (3,047), July 4 (2,262), July 5 (2,610), July 6 (3,260), July 7 (3,119) and July 8 (4,152).

Negeri Sembilan, meanwhile, reported 897 new cases yesterday, Perak 543, Kedah 360, Johor 336, Sarawak 281, Sabah 279, Penang 237, Melaka 183, Pahang 152 and Kelantan 135.

Terengganu reported 68 cases, Labuan 64 and Putrajaya 47. Perlis only had one new case yesterday.

With the 135 fatalities reported yesterday, Malaysia’s Covid-19 death tally now stood at 5,903 (0.73 percent of total cases).

Selangor accounted for the highest number of fatalities this week – July 3 (51 cases), July 4 (25), July 5 (30), July 6 (43), July 7 (47) and July 8 (38).

In a post in his personal Facebook account yesterday, Dr Noor Hisham said the Covid-19 infectivity rate or R0/Rt value stood at 1.09 nationwide yesterday.

Putrajaya recorded the highest R0 value at 1.28, followed by Perak 1.18 and Kuala Lumpur 1.16. An R0 value of 0.5 will be needed to flatten the Covid-19 infection curve.

This week’s Covid-19 scenario

Following is the daily breakdown of new cases, local transmissions and imported cases reported this week:

July 3 – new cases 6,658, local transmission 6,647 and imported cases 11;

July 4 – new cases 6,045, local transmissions 6,025 and imported cases 20;

July 5 – new cases 6,387, local transmissions 6,361 and imported cases 26;

July 6 – new cases 7,654, local transmissions 7,643 and imported cases 11;

July 7 – new cases 7,097, local transmissions 7,071 and imported cases 26; and

July 8 – new cases 8,868, local transmissions 8,858 and imported cases 10.

Following is the daily breakdown of deaths reported nationwide this week:

July 3 – 107 cases (brought in dead or BID 14); July 4 – 63 (BID seven); July 5 – 77 (BID 13); July 6 – 103 (BID 12); July 7 – 91 (BID 10); and July 8 – 135 (BID 20).

The BID cases refer to deaths that occurred outside healthcare facilities, with the bodies testing positive for COVID-19 after RT-PCR tests were carried out.

Following is the daily breakdown of clusters reported this week:

July 3 – 19 (workplace 16, community two and detention centre one); July 4 – 17 (workplace 11, community five and high-risk group one); July 5 – 13 (workplace 11 and community two); July 6 – 21 (workplace 11, community nine and detention centre one); July 7 – 18 (workplace six, community nine, education one and high-risk group one); and July 8 – 29 (workplace 19, community eight, education one and high-risk group one).

Global Covid-19 statistics

The total number of Covid-19 cases worldwide, according to Worldometer, at the time of writing this article stood at 185,906,966 (183,512,215 cases at the same time last Friday) and deaths 4,019,089 (3,973,393 last Friday). The total number of recoveries stood at 170,140,150.

Some 216 countries are affected by the Covid-19 pandemic and those in the top 10 of the list are the United States, India, Brazil, France, Russia, Turkey, the United Kingdom, Argentina, Colombia and Italy.

The breakdown is as follows: United States 34,645,515 cases (621,902 deaths); India 30,709,557 (405,057); Brazil 18,909,037 (528,611); France 5,794,665 (111,259); Russia 5,707,452 (140,775); Turkey 5,459,923 (50,048); United Kingdom 4,990,916 (128,301); Argentina 4,593,763 (97,439); Colombia 4,426,811 (110,578); and Italy 4,265,714 (127,718).

China, where the outbreak was first reported at end-December 2019, is now at the 100th spot in the list of countries affected by Covid-19 with 91,966 cases while its death toll remained at 4,636.

Besides Malaysia, the four other Southeast Asian nations that have joined the list of 98 countries with more than 100,000 cases are Indonesia (16th spot) with 2,379,397 cases and 62,908 deaths), the Philippines (23th spot) with 1,455,585 and 25,650 deaths, Thailand (64th spot) with 308,230 cases and 2,462 deaths and Myanmar (83th spot) with 175,923 cases and 3,570 deaths.

Singapore (110th spot) has reported 62,668 cases and 36 deaths; Cambodia 58,057 cases and 825 deaths; Vietnam 23,385 cases and 102 deaths; Laos 2,469 cases and three deaths; and Brunei 266 cases and three deaths.

Covid-19 Background

The World Health Organisation’s 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 newly detected 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, 2020, 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, 2020, WHO declared the coronavirus outbreak as a global emergency and on March 11, Covid-19 was declared a pandemic.

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. It was first detected in Mexico and later in the United States in March 2009.

Covid-19 was detected in Malaysia on Jan 25, 2020, when three Chinese citizens, who had entered Malaysia through Johore from Singapore on Jan 23, were tested positive for the disease.

New variants of the Covid-19 coronavirus have since emerged in the United Kingdom (identified as B117) in September 2020, South Africa (501Y.V2) in October 2020 and India (B.1.617), also in October last year.