KUALA LUMPUR, May 3 — The Ministry of Health (MOH) announced 122 new Covid-19 cases today, a steady climb from an earlier period where Malaysia only recorded two-digit new cases.

Two more new deaths were also recorded, just a day before Malaysia was supposed to relax its movement control order (MCO) into the conditional MCO (CMCO) in order to recover its economy tomorrow.

Imported cases accounted for nearly half the new cases, at 52. The rest are local transmissions, Health Director-General Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said today.

“Out of 122 new cases reported today, 52 are imported cases,” he told the ministry’s daily press briefing.

“This means there are 70 local transmission cases.”

The number of new cases today is the highest in in almost a month. The last time it was this high was 170 cases in April 14.

Malaysia’s total infection cases now stood at 6,298, although active cases remain manageable at just 1,780 cases.

Meanwhile the country’s recovery rate continues to be high, a remarkable 70 per cent rate from all cases.

87 more were discharged today, making it the first in weeks that the number of new cases surpassed that of recoveries. In total, over 4,400 patients have been discharged.

Total number of Covid-19 deaths also remains low, a mortality rate of just 1.66 per cent. Total fatalities up to noon today is 105.

The sudden spike of new cases would likely reinforce fears about the government’s announcement to allow most economic sectors to reopen tomorrow.

But Dr Noor Hisham suggested health authorities have managed to rein in the local SARS-Cov-2 outbreak, or at least contain it at a manageable level.

“So as long as we can keep our R0 below 1 we are fine... our R0 is now at .75,” he explained.

R0, or pronounced “R-nought”, is a virus’ rate of reproduction used to gauge how contagious a disease is. The mathematical term indicates the average number of people who will contract a contagious disease from one person with that disease.

Still, the Health D-G saw the need to drill into the public mind about the need to maintain social distancing and practice good hygiene, even as he assured the government is prepared to mitigate any possible spike in infections.

“Try your best to avoid what we call the three Cs: crowded places, confined spaces and close (proximity) conversations,” he said.