KUALA LUMPUR, April 26 ― The number of green zones in Malaysia — or districts with no active Covid-19 cases — has risen to 67 districts, matching the country’s positive trend of recoveries outnumbering fresh cases daily.
Also worth cheering ― even as the government yesterday announced a new enhanced movement control order (EMCO) in Selayang Baru in Gombak, Selangor ― is the fact that Malaysia recorded no new red zones ― or districts in the most severe category for Covid-19 ― for an entire week.
Each district has a chance to turn green
Based on the Health Ministry’s data, districts marked as green zones fall into one of two categories: those which have not recorded any Covid-19 cases, or those which had recorded Covid-19 cases previously but currently have no more active cases.
Active cases are what remains after deaths and recovered patients are deducted from total cumulative cases recorded in a district. This means that a district which was previously a yellow zone (one to 40 cases) or a red zone (above 41 cases) could find itself turning into a green zone if its Covid-19 patients recover and no Covid-19 patient remains under treatment.
Here, Malay Mail takes a quick look at how Malaysia has been faring, based on the latest figures released by the Health Ministry:
Green zones increase
Since the Health Ministry’s daily maps of districts nationwide started including data on active Covid-19 cases from April 18 onwards, the number of green zones has continued to increase on a daily basis.
Based on the Health Ministry’s figures, the number of green zones with zero active cases were 47 districts (as of April 18), which increased to 52 districts (April 19), 56 districts (April 20), leaping to 65 on April 21, before going down slightly to 64 (April 22), going back up to 65 (April 23), 66 (April 24) and 67 (April 25).
Yellow zones turning green day by day
Since the Health Ministry started using a new colour classification of just three categories (yellow, red, green) from April 22 down from four categories which included orange previously, the number of yellow zones has also gone down each day.
From 71 yellow zones in the country on April 22, the number of districts (with active cases ranging from one to 40) has gone down to 70 on April 23, 69 (April 24), 68 (April 25).
This is due to yellow zones becoming new green zones, namely Sibu (April 23, with zero cases compared to one case the day before), Kulim (April 24, down from three cases the day before) and Kerian (April 25, down from two cases the day before).
How about red zones for active cases?
The number of districts in the red zone has also decreased in recent days.
In terms of active cases, Malaysia recorded 16 red zones on April 18, 17 red zones on April 19 with the addition of the Melaka Tengah district, before dropping to 13 red zones on April 20 as the number of active Covid-19 cases fell below the threshold of 41 active cases in the districts of Tawau, Gombak, Cheras, and Jasin.
Also noteworthy on April 20 was the Rembau district in Negri Sembilan becoming the first and only red zone so far in the country to become a green zone when the number of active Covid-19 cases went down from two on April 19 to zero cases on April 20.
The number of red zones in terms of active cases in Malaysia went up to 14 districts briefly on April 21 with Cheras going back up, but has since returned to and stayed at 13 districts from April 22 until April 25.
The positive trend for green, yellow and red zones in terms of active cases is in line with the multiple occasions that the number of daily recoveries had beaten the number of daily new Covid-19 cases during the movement control order (MCO) period, or 16 times so far in 39 days.
What about the tally for total cumulative cases?
Looking at the other category of cumulative cases or based on all the Covid-19 cases recorded so far, another small victory is that Malaysia has, since April 18, not lost any of its green zones or districts that had never recorded any Covid-19 cases.
Malaysia initially had 39 districts in seven states with zero Covid-19 cases recorded or green zones as of March 25, but this decreased over the weeks to just 28 districts in five states as of April 17, before again falling to 26 districts in five states as of April 18 when two districts in Sarawak recorded their first cases.
In the latest data as of April 25, there are still 26 districts nationwide that have yet to record any Covid-19 cases, even as more than 5,700 cases have been recorded throughout the country.
No new red zones in terms of cumulative cases
When it comes to cumulative cases or the total tally of Covid-19 cases that have been recorded so far, the number of Malaysia’s red zones had been increasing.
In terms of cumulative cases, the number of red zones in Malaysia increased from 27 on April 14, to 28 on April 16 with the addition of Sabah’s Kota Kinabalu district, to 29 on April 17 with the addition of Johor’s Kulai district, and finally to 30 on April 18 with the addition of Sabah’s Lahad Datu district.
But for an entire week from April 18, there has been no increase in red zones in terms of cumulative cases in Malaysia, with the number remaining at 30 districts as of April 25.
But what does all this mean?
While there may be cause to cheer with more green zones in the country as the days go by, Malaysians cannot let their guard down as the war against the Covid-19 disease is not over yet.
Even as a majority of Malaysians comply with the movement control order by temporarily giving up their usual way of life to help combat Covid-19, at least hundreds are arrested daily for flouting the MCO ― albeit at reduced numbers recently.
Health director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah yesterday expressed the Health Ministry’s concern over residents in green zones becoming more complacent with no new Covid-19 cases being reported there.
“MOH is also concerned that the public are beginning to ignore the health advisories, thinking that the pandemic is almost over. In fact, the fight against this invisible enemy is still far from over.
“Therefore, MOH urges everyone, including those living in areas declared as Green Zones, to remain vigilant and comply fully to the MCO. The Covid-19 virus is our common enemy, but constantly be reminded that complacency and apathy of the community are the virus’ ally,” he had said yesterday, urging Malaysians to continue to practise social distancing by staying at least one metre away from others and continuing to wash hands frequently with water and soap.
As of yesterday noon, the death toll for Covid-19 cases in Malaysia stands at 98.