Health DG: We're on right track in Covid-19 fight with MCO extension

PUTRAJAYA: With the movement control order (MCO) now extended by two more weeks, Malaysia is on the right track in its effort to reduce the Covid-19 infectivity rate.

Health director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said that a disease’s infectivity is quantified by a figure called “R0”, which is pronounced “R-Naught”.

“Before the MCO was implemented, we calculated our infectivity rate based on the data back then. The R0 was at 3.55, which means if one person is infected, he or she will infect 3.55 others.

“As of today we managed to bring down the R0, thanks to the MCO in its first two phases.

“When everybody stays at home, there is less infection, and the infectivity goes down.

“We expect by April 14, our R0 will go to 0.9, which means one person will potentially infect 0.9 people.

“Therefore we advised the Prime Minister to extend the MCO by two more weeks, which will give us more time to plan our activities and ensure we can contain and break the chain of infection.

“We are on the right track to bring the R0 down further, ” said Dr Hisham at a press conference here on Friday (April 10).

He said Malaysia had so far managed to defy several modelling predictions by third parties, which claimed the country’s number of cases would surge by mid-April.

“JP Morgan predicted that by April 14, our cases would peak to about 6,900 positive patients.

“The Malaysian Institute of Economic Research (MIER)’s modelling predicted that we would have 8,000 and 9,000 in the next one week.

“But our own prediction is based on daily data, and we try to make sure it is as accurate as possible.

“We have seen that the number of cases is quite stable and we have not seen any exponential surge. We might have even peaked last week, as we can see our cases are getting fewer now.

“This could be a good sign for us, ” said Dr Hisham.

Earlier, he announced that there were 118 new Covid-19 cases, which is a lot fewer than the number of recoveries (222) in the same 24-hour span.

Malaysia’s MCO, which began on March 18, has been extended until April 28.

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MCO , Dr Noor Hisham , Covid-19 , coronavirus


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