KUALA LUMPUR, May 6 ― Daily new case numbers continued to remain below 1,500 this week and on Tuesday (May 3), the number of new infections reported fell to three digits, adding joy to the festive atmosphere.

Tuesday’s 922 new caseload was the lowest this year when daily new infections soared to five-digit levels, with the highest-ever number, 33,406, recorded on March 5.

The last time the nation registered a three-digit daily figure was more than a year ago on March 29, 2021, when 941 cases were reported. 

Malaysia’s active cases declined to 27,454 as of Wednesday (May 4), compared with 311,206 on March 5. The nation’s cumulative Covid-19 case figure now stood at 4,454,113.

Following is the breakdown of the number of daily new cases recorded nationwide during the week under review (April 30 to May 5): April 30 (2,107), May 1 (1,503), May 2 (1,352), May 3 (922), May 4 (1,054) and May 5 (1,278).

With its total of 4,454,113 cases, Malaysia now stood at the 23rd spot in the list of 226 countries/territories hit by the Covid-19 pandemic. Ahead of Malaysia are Ukraine (5,002,870) and Mexico (5,740,080).

According to the latest data derived from Worldometer, Germany recorded the highest number of new cases yesterday at 87,201 (159 deaths), followed by the United States at 66,611cases (225 deaths) and Australia at 54,688 cases (56 deaths).

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Health’s (MoH) CovidNow data as of 11.59 pm yesterday showed that out of the 27,454 active cases, 26,407 (96.2 percent) were quarantined at home. Seventeen cases (0.1 percent) were quarantined at COVID-19 Quarantine and Treatment Centres while 964 cases (3.5 percent) were in hospitals. Thirty cases (0.1 percent) were admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU) but did not need respiratory aid while 36 cases (0.1 percent) were in the ICU requiring respiratory support. 

Yesterday, 2,599 cases were reported to have recovered, bringing the total number of recovered cases to 4,391,090.

The Covid-19 infectivity rate or R0/Rt value remained below the 1.00 level nationwide over the week. The daily R0 value is as follows: April 30 (0.61), May 1 (0.60), May 2 (0.62), May 3 (0.58), May 4 (0.54) and May 5 (0.53).

On April 27, Melaka recorded the highest R0/Rt value (0.75), followed by Kuala Lumpur (0.74) and Sabah (0.71).

Covid-19 scenario in Malaysia

Recovered cases: April 30 (6,890), May 1 (5,839), May 2 (6,074), May 3 (5,520), May 4 (4,107) and May 5 (2,599).

Active cases (infectious): April 30 (45,506), May 1 (41,167), May 2 (36,440), May 3 (31,833), May 4 (28,777) and May 5 (27,454).

The state-by-state breakdown of new cases (+ imported cases) reported yesterday is as follows:

Three-digit new cases ― Selangor 719 (+0) and Kuala Lumpur 150 (+2);

Two-digit new cases ― Johor 37 (+0), Kedah 39 (+1), Kelantan 19 (+0), Melaka 76 (+0), Negri Sembilan 41 (+0), Perak 41 (+0), Penang 65 (+0), Sabah 26 (+0), Sarawak 24 (+0) and Terengganu 18 (+0);

One-digit new cases ― Pahang nine (+0), Perlis seven (+0), Labuan one (+0) and Putrajaya three (+0).

The number of new, cumulative and imported cases recorded nationwide over the week is as follows:

April 30 ― New cases 2,107, Cumulative Cases 4,448,004, Imported Cases 16;

May 1 ― New Cases 1,503, Cumulative Cases 4,449,507, Imported Cases six;

May 2 ― New Cases 1,352, Cumulative Cases 4,450,859, Imported Cases four;

May 3 ― New Cases 922, Cumulative Cases 4,451,781, Imported Case one;

May 4 ― New Cases 1,054, Cumulative Cases 4,452,835, Imported Case one; and

May 5 ― New Cases 1,278, Cumulative Cases 4,454,113, Imported Cases three.

Meanwhile, 76 Covid-19 clusters were still active in Malaysia as of yesterday. Since the start of the pandemic in March 2020, a total of 7,010 clusters had emerged nationwide.

This week, only one new cluster, involving a high-risk group, was detected. According to MoH’s CovidNow data, the cluster ― Jalan Bakawali cluster ― was detected in Johor Baru on April 30 with 26 positive cases.

The breakdown in fatalities reported this week is as follows: April 30 – five (brought in dead or BID 0), May 1 – three (BID one), May 2 – five (BID one), May 3 – nine (BID five), May 4 – three (BID 0) and May 5 – two (BID 0).

(BID cases involve patients who died outside the hospital and tested positive for Covid-19 after their bodies were brought to the hospital's forensics department.)

As of yesterday, Malaysia’s Covid-19 death toll stood at 35,569.

Global Covid-19 statistics

The total number of Covid-19 cases reported worldwide, according to Worldometer statistics, now stood at 515,877,151 (last Friday, 512,830,834), while the death tally stood at 6,272,154 (last Friday,  6,256,282). A total of 470,580,152 patients have recovered so far (last Friday, 466,634,879).

A total of 226 countries are hit by the Covid-19 pandemic and the top 10 countries with the highest number of cases are the United States, India, Brazil, France, Germany, the United Kingdom, Russia, South Korea, Italy and Turkey. Following is the breakdown of the total number of Covid-19 cases reported by the top 10 countries (+ new daily cases reported yesterday):

United States 83,437,158 (+66,611);

India 43,094,548 (+3,155);

Brazil 30,524,183 (+21,682);

France 28,849,915 (+44,225);

Germany 25,203,564 (+87,201);

United Kingdom 22,102,983 (+7,406);

Russia 18,211,178 (+5,011);

South Korea 17,438,068 (+42,277);

Italy 16,682,626 (+48,255); and

Turkey 15,037,242 (+no information).

In Southeast Asia, besides Malaysia, other countries that have joined the list of 125 countries with over 100,000 COVID-19 cases are Indonesia, the Philippines, Vietnam, Thailand, Singapore, Myanmar, Laos, Cambodia and Brunei. 

Their cumulative cases (+new daily cases) are as follows:

Vietnam (12th spot) ― 10,666,751 (+4,305);

Indonesia (19th spot) ―6,047,741 (+250);

Malaysia (23rd spot) ― 4,454,113 (+1,278);

Thailand (24th spot) ― 4,300,614 (+9.790);

Philippines (32nd spot) ― 3,686,543 (+168);

Singapore (51st spot) ― 1,208,917(+4,733);

Myanmar (78th spot) ― 612,965 (+14);

Laos (110th spot) ― 208,368 (+230);

Brunei (121st spot) ― 142,312 (+146); and

Cambodia (123rd spot) ― 136,259 (+ one).

Covid-19 background

The WHO’s China country office was informed of cases of pneumonia that were detected in Wuhan on December 31, 2019. On January 7, 2020, the Chinese authorities confirmed that the newly detected 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 February 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 January 30, 2020, WHO declared the coronavirus outbreak as a global emergency and on March 11, Covid-19 was declared a pandemic.

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. It was first detected in Mexico and later in the United States in March 2009.

Covid-19 was detected in Malaysia on January 25, 2020, when three Chinese citizens, who had entered Malaysia through Johor from Singapore on Jan 23, tested positive for the disease.

New variants of the Covid-19 coronavirus have since emerged in the United Kingdom (identified as B117) in September 2020, South Africa (501Y.V2) in October 2020 and India (B.1.617), also in October 2020.

Malaysia's total Covid-19 cases breached the one million mark on July 25, 2021.

WHO on November 26 designated a new variant of Covid-19, named Omicron, a variant of concern.  It was first detected in Gauteng Province, South Africa.

On January 2, 2022, Israel confirmed its first case of an individual infected with 'Flurona', a term that was coined to describe the condition of being infected with Covid-19 and the seasonal flu simultaneously. ― Bernama