Dr Noor Hisham: Malaysia’s Covid-19 cases projected to soar past today’s all-time high of 2,593 in two weeks

Director General of Health, Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah at a daily press conference related to Covid-19 infection at the Ministry of Health December 23, 2020. — Bernama pic
Director General of Health, Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah at a daily press conference related to Covid-19 infection at the Ministry of Health December 23, 2020. — Bernama pic

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KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 6 — Despite today’s new record high of Covid-19 cases in Malaysia, Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said the Ministry of Health (MOH) is bracing for another spike in cases in the coming weeks on the back of the recent festive season.

Today, Malaysia reported 2,593 cases, with 965 alone recorded in Selangor.

Dr Noor Hisham said the basic reproduction number (R-nought or R0) of Covid-19 infections in Malaysia has now also increased to 1.1 despite the authorities targeting to bring it down to 0.5 previously.

During his daily press conference today, Dr Noor Hisham did not answer questions directly when asked if the time had come to reimpose the movement control order (MCO) or ban interstate travel to stem the spread of Covid-19 infections.

He instead maintained that the MOH is working closely with the National Disaster Management Agency (Nadma) to see if the agency can find a way to isolate positive cases with asymptomatic and mild symptoms away from the community.

“We see cases increasing in the next one to two weeks. We are in the midst of discussing strategies. We are also aware that there is a delay in taking in Covid-19 positive patients for treatment.

“We are in the midst of working with Nadma to see if they can take in more positive cases within the community for isolation,” he said.

Dr Noor Hisham added the current conditional movement control order (CMCO) was not a failure, but conceded that it had not produced the desired results.

“Of course, our worry is the daily rise in cases. The CMCO implemented on October 14 prevented cases from hitting 4,000. We managed to avoid that, but with the 1.1 R0, we still couldn’t bring the cases down,” he said.

Today’s figure sees 68 more cases than the country’s previous record high of 2,525 cases, which happened on December 31 last year.

After Selangor, the states with the highest number of new cases were Johor and Sabah respectively.

During this evening’s press conference, Dr Noor Hisham announced four more deaths, with the total number of infections now at 125,438.

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