Covid-19 weekly round-up: New clusters see Malaysia continue four-digit streak

Health workers collect swab samples to test for Covid-19 at Dewan Kebajikan Gombak Setia February 20, 2021. — Picture by Ahmad Zamzahuri
Health workers collect swab samples to test for Covid-19 at Dewan Kebajikan Gombak Setia February 20, 2021. — Picture by Ahmad Zamzahuri

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KUALA LUMPUR, April 9 — With 348 Covid-19 clusters still active and reporting new cases, Malaysia continues to grapple with four-digit new infections every day.

It is obvious from the Ministry of Health’s daily Coronavirus Disease 2019 Situation Report that the two main types of clusters triggering new cases are those linked to the workplace and community.

The hotbeds for the transmission of the deadly coronavirus are, in fact, workplaces such as factories, construction sites, construction companies, business centres, education centres and public administrative centres.

Community clusters, meanwhile, are mainly linked to weddings and other social events.

Over the week under review (April 3 to 8), 47 new clusters were recorded, out of which 27 were linked to the worksite and 15 to the community.

On March 29, new cases reported dipped to 941 — the lowest so far this year — but the figures returned to four digits subsequently.

Over the 24-hour period up to noon yesterday, 1,285 new Covid-19 cases were reported, involving 999 Malaysians, 269 non-citizens and 17 imported cases.

Malaysia’s cumulative total of Covid-19 cases now stood at 355,753 and active cases 14,203.

With its 355,753 cases, Malaysia is at the 46th spot in the list of 216 countries affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. Just ahead of Malaysia is Panama (357,277 cases), Slovakia (368,470) and Saudi Arabia (394,952).

Malaysia also continued to record four-digit recoveries. Yesterday, 1,175 patients were discharged, bringing the total number of recovered cases to 340,242 (95.6 percent of total cases).

Following is the daily breakdown of new cases from April 3 to 8: 1,638 (April 3); 1,349 (April 4); 1,070 (April 5); 1,300 (April 6); 1,139 (April 7); and 1,285 (April 8).

Following is the daily breakdown of recovered cases for the same period: 1,449 (April 3); 1,270 (April 4); 1,294 (April 5); 1,412 (April 6); 1,199 (April 7); and 1,175 (April 8).

New clusters cause hike in cases

As of yesterday, Malaysia had recorded a total of 1,435 Covid-19 clusters nationwide, out of which 1,087 have ended. A total of 348 clusters are currently active, with 47 of them contributing to new cases yesterday.

The three clusters which recorded the highest number of new cases yesterday were Jalan Harapan Prison (89 cases), Perusahaan Perai Tiga (60) and Industri Parit Raja (38).

The Jalan Harapan Prison cluster was first reported on Nov 21, 2020, and it involved the Sungai Buloh prison in Selangor. As of yesterday, it recorded a total of 5,043 cases.

The Perushaan Perai Tiga cluster was reported on April 3 and it involved factory workers in the districts of Seberang Perai Tengah, Seberang Perai Utara and Timur Laut in Penang.

The Industri Parit Raja cluster involved factory workers in the Parit Raja industrial area in Batu Pahat district, Johor.

Yesterday, four new clusters were reported, one each in Selangor, Johor, Penang and Pahang (a community cluster).

Besides the 27 workplace and 15 community clusters, three other clusters reported this week were linked to detention centres, one to a religious event and one, imported cases.

Among the community clusters that reported substantial numbers of Covid-19 cases were Kampung Binyu cluster (April 3) and Sungai Kawi cluster (April 7).

The Kampung Binyu cluster emerged following a marriage function, with the affected cases hailing from Kuching, Bintulu, Samarahan and Simunjan districts in Sarawak. As of April 3, 68 positive cases were detected.

The Sungai Kawi cluster came about following the screening of symptomatic individuals from Meradong and Sibu, Sarawak. As of April 7, it reported 127 cases.

As for the three detention centre clusters reported this week, one is located in Sarawak and two in Johor.

The Tembok Sri Aman cluster in Sarawak emerged following the targeted screening of detainees. As of April 4, it had 160 cases.

As for the two detention centre clusters in Johor, the Padang Hijau cluster involved Kluang district. As of April 6, it recorded 12 positive cases. The second cluster, Tembok Choh Dua, involved Johor Bahru district and had 10 cases as of April 7.

Johor also recorded a new cluster comprising imported cases this week. The Highline cluster, involving Kota Tinggi district, emerged following the screening of the crew members of a ship docked off Penerang, Kota Tinggi. As of April 7, this cluster recorded five positive cases.

Other developments nationwide

As of yesterday, 13 districts in Peninsular Malaysia have been declared as green zones. They are Padang Terap, Langkawi, Bandar Bharu, Sik and Yan in Kedah; Hulu Perak and Kampar in Perak; Jelebu and Kuala Pilah in Negeri Sembilan; Kemaman and Hulu Terengganu inTerengganu; and Bera and Cameron Highlands in Pahang.

As for the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme, the following number of people has been administered the first and second (within brackets) doses of the vaccine in the various states as of April 8:

Perlis 10,001 (6,920);  Kedah 32,836 (24,621)Penang 35,085 (23,131)Perak  52,548 (34,436)Selangor 75,225 (48,493);  Kuala Lumpur 51,100 (32,141)Putrajaya 6,767 (4,541)Negeri Sembilan 29,263 (16,850)Melaka 16,241 (10,230); Kelantan  25,293 (18,951)Terengganu 26,557 (15,805)Pahang 35,469 (26,248)Johor 49,401 (27,323)Sabah 52,322 (39,089)Labuan 3,176 (2,319)and Sarawak 57,466 (29,873).

A total of 919,721 people have received the vaccine so far (first dose 558,750 and second dose 360,971).

As of April 8, a total of 8,309,480 (34.30 per cent) individuals aged above 18 have registered to receive the Covid-19 vaccine.

Meanwhile, Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah wrote on his personal Facebook account yesterday that the Covid-19 infectivity rate or R0/Rt value stood at 1.00 nationwide as of yesterday. Putrajaya registered the highest R0 value at 1.29 while Negri Sembilan’s was the lowest at 0.80.

The conditional movement control order (CMCO) is currently in force in Selangor, Johor, Kelantan, Kuala Lumpur and Penang (April 1-14). Sarawak’s CMCO will end on April 12.

Kedah, Perak, Pahang, Terengganu, Negeri Sembilan, Perlis, Putrajaya, Labuan, Sabah and Melaka will remain under recovery MCO until April 14.

Inter-district travel is allowed in all the states (except Sabah and Sarawak) but interstate travel is still prohibited.

Malaysia is under emergency rule starting Jan 12 up to August this year.

Covid-19 case details nationwide

Yesterday, six states recorded three-digit new Covid-19 cases, They were Selangor (374), Sarawak (211), Penang (162), Kuala Lumpur (120), Sabah (106) and Johor (101).

The following states reported two-digit new case numbers: Kelantan (87), Kedah (31), Perak (24), Putrajaya (19), Negri Sembilan (12), Pahang (12), Melaka (11) and Terengganu (11). Labuan reported three new cases and Perlis one.

Selangor: Out of the 374 new cases, 97 came from existing clusters and one new cluster; 195 cases were from the screening of close contacts of positive cases; 79 from other screenings; and three imported.

Sarawak: Out of the 211 new cases, 46 were from existing clusters; 131 from the screening of close contacts; 33 from other screenings; and one imported.

Penang: Out of 162 new cases, 90 were from existing clusters and one new cluster; 21 from the screening of close contacts; and 51 from other screenings.

Kuala Lumpur: Out of the 120 new cases, 61 were from the screening of close contact; 46 from other screenings; and 46 imported.

Sabah: Out of the 106 new cases, 31 were from existing clusters; 48 from the screening of close contacts; and 27 from other screenings.

Johor: Out of the 101 new cases, 50 were from existing clusters and one new cluster; 35 from the screening of close contacts; and 16 from other screenings.

Yesterday, four fatalities due to Covid-19 were reported, bringing Malaysia’s death toll to 1,308 (0.37 percent of total cases).

Currently, 186 Covid-19 cases are in the intensive care unit, with 81 requiring respiratory aid.

Global Covid-19 statistics

The total number of Covid-19 cases worldwide, according to Worldometer, at the time of writing this article stood at 134,517,429 (130,170,107 cases at the same time last Friday) and deaths 2,914,945 (2,840,140 last Friday). The total number of recoveries stood at 108,308,909.

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, Russia, the United Kingdom, France, Italy, Turkey, Spain and Germany. The breakdown is as follows: United States 31,717,404 cases (573,856 deaths), Brazil 13,286,324 (345,287), India 13,057,954 (167,694), France 4,939,258 (98,065), Russia 4,614,834 (101,845), United Kingdom 4,370,321 (126,980), Italy 3,717,602 (112,861), Turkey 3,689,866 (33,201), Spain 3,336,637 (76,179), and Germany 2,951,814 (78,473). 

China, where the outbreak was first reported at end-December 2019, is now on the 92nd spot in the list of countries affected by Covid-19 with 90,386 cases while its death toll remained at 4,636. 

Besides Malaysia, the three other Southeast Asian nations that have joined the list of 88 countries with more than 100,000 cases are Indonesia (20th spot) with 1,552,880 and 42,227 deaths, the Philippines (29th spot) with 828,366 cases and 14,119  deaths, and Myanmar (80th spot) with 142,549 cases and 3,206 deaths.

Singapore (102nd spot) has reported 60,575 cases and 30 deaths; Thailand 30,310 cases and a death toll of 95; Vietnam 2,668 cases and 35 deaths; and Cambodia 3,028 cases and 24 deaths.

Brunei’s tally stands at 216 cases and three deaths, while Laos’ cases remained at 49 with zero fatality.

Covid-19 background

According to the World Health Organisation’s website, its 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 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. By then, it had spread to 18 countries and caused 170 deaths. On March 11, Covid-19 was declared a pandemic by WHO.

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.

The International Monetary Fund has warned that the global economic recession caused by the Covid-19 pandemic will be worse than the Great Depression of the 1930s. — Bernama

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