KUALA LUMPUR, April 17 — Malaysia entered the second day of phase 3 of the movement control order (MCO) with slightly more cases than the first day but, as a whole, saw eight states and the two Federal Territories of Putrajaya and Labuan either recording zero new Covid-19 cases, or three cases and below.

In other words, only five states and the Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur had recorded relatively bigger increases on April 16, based on the latest data released by the Health Ministry today.

The minimal increases in the different states in Malaysia match the relatively low number of new Covid-19 cases recorded in the country yesterday at 110 new cases.

Status quo in five

Just like on April 15, three states yesterday again recorded zero new cases, namely Perlis at 18 cases, Penang (119) and Melaka (147), while the Federal Territory of Labuan again maintained its tally of 15 cases.

Kedah, which had recorded one new case in the entire state on April 15, kept its tally at 94 cases with zero new cases on April 16.

Minimal increases in five

Four states and one Federal Territory initially had zero increase of new cases on April 15, but yesterday recorded marginal increases.

As of yesterday noon, Kelantan and Perak recorded only one new case each to increase their tally to 155 cases and 251 cases, while the Federal Territory of Putrajaya also increased by one case to 55 cases.

Terengganu increased its tally by two cases to 108 cases, while Sabah increased its tally by three cases to 288 cases on April 16.

Although Sabah’s total cumulative count of Covid-19 cases increased by only three cases, this resulted in the state’s Kota Kinabalu district becoming a new red zone as the district’s tally increased from 40 cases on April 15 to 42 cases on April 16.

The red zones

Under the Health Ministry’s classification, districts where at least 41 Covid-19 cases have been recorded fall under the category of red zones, or the most severe category.

With the addition of the Kota Kinabalu district, there are now 28 red zones nationwide based on the latest maps as of April 16 by the Health Ministry.

Taken together, the total number of Covid-19 cases recorded in these 28 red zones is 4,013 cases, or 77.4 per cent of the 5,182 cases recorded nationwide as of April 16.

Health workers test a foreign worker for Covid-19 at Kampung Baru, Kuala Lumpur April 16, 2020. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa
Health workers test a foreign worker for Covid-19 at Kampung Baru, Kuala Lumpur April 16, 2020. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

Where were most of yesterday’s new cases recorded?

Most of the 110 new Covid-19 cases nationwide were yesterday found in some of the worst-hit states in the country, and also in the Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur which is the second most-affected in the country after Selangor.

The tally of Covid-19 cases in Kuala Lumpur shot up from 926 on April 15 to 952 on April 16, or an increase by 26 cases with slightly more than half of it in the Lembah Pantai district.

The Lembah Pantai district is now the nation’s top red zone for the 14th consecutive day with 592 cases recorded there so far, up from the past 13 days: 322 cases (April 3), 367 cases (April 4), 376 cases (April 5), 386 cases (April 6), 412 cases (April 7), 417 cases (April 8), 424 cases (April 9), 427 cases (April 10), 459 (April 11), 496 cases (April 12), 515 cases (April 13), 572 cases (April 14) and 577 cases (April 15).

An important point to note for those looking at the Lembah Pantai district figures is that it covers the three parliamentary constituencies of Seputeh, Bukit Bintang and Lembah Pantai, with the latest available breakdown as of April 8 from the Health Department of Federal Territory Kuala Lumpur & Putrajaya showing that a substantial number of the cases in the Lembah Pantai district then were recorded in the Seputeh constituency.

Selangor’s tally increased by 13 cases, or from 1,316 (April 15) to 1,329 (April 16), while the third most affected — Johor — increased its tally also by 13 cases from 601 (April 15) to 614 (April 16).

Virtually all of Johor’s new cases were recorded in the Kluang district except for one case each in the Muar and Kota Tinggi districts on April 16, which resulted in Kota Tinggi being recategorised as a new orange zone — just one category below red zone — when its tally increased to 21 cases.

With the addition of Kota Tinggi as an orange zone or districts where 21 to 40 cases are recorded and with the loss of Kota Kinabalu which is now reclassified as a red zone, Malaysia now has 16 orange zones.

Negri Sembilan’s tally increased by 26 cases from 363 cases (April 15) to 389 cases (April 16) with all of these new cases recorded in the Seremban district, while Sarawak’s tally increased by 16 cases from 371 cases to 387 cases on the same days with 10 of these new cases in the Kuching district alone.

Pahang increased its tally from 253 to 261 cases, or by eight cases.

No green zones lost

Based on the Health Ministry’s maps, the current number of districts that are green zones or have yet to record any Covid-19 cases remain as 28 districts in five states as of April 16. (Malaysia originally had a total of 39 districts in seven states with zero Covid-19 cases as of March 25.)

The Health Ministry’s maps that are released daily are based on the total cumulative tally, with the Kampar district in Perak recently no longer designated as a green zone after two Covid-19 cases were attributed in this district.

But the Perak state government has yesterday opted to declare three of its districts — Kuala Kangsar, Muallim, Kampar — as green zones, based on the lack of new Covid-19 cases being reported in these three districts over the last 14 days.

Yesterday, Health Director-General Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah indicated a similar approach could be taken, acknowledging that some states have not reported new Covid-19 cases for several days but stressed that Malaysia will have to wait for the 14-day incubation period for Covid-19 virus before it can declare such areas as clean or green zones.

Dr Noor Hisham had expressed hope that green zones could be identified within 14 days regardless of whether an area is a village, sub-district, district or an entire state, and stressed the importance of protecting the status of such areas as green zones once identified.

The death toll from Covid-19 in Malaysia stands at 84.