Health DG: Reduction of Covid-19 infectivity rate due to success of MCO

Health director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah.

PUTRAJAYA: The reduction of the Covid-19 infectivity rate (R0 value) from 3.5 to 0.3 is due to the success of Malaysia’s movement control order (MCO), says the Health Ministry.

R0, which is pronounced “r-naught”, refers to the infectivity rate of a virus within a community during an outbreak.

“For example, if the value of R is four, it means that for every Covid-19 positive patient, four people can potentially be infected by the virus, ” Health director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah explained at the ministry’s daily Covid-19 press conference here.

“The value of R can go down if the correct preventive measures are continuously implemented within a community.

“Similarly, the value of R can increase if the people are careless and ignore preventive measures.

“We need to reduce the value of R to below one for a prolonged period in order to end a pandemic, ” said Dr Noor Hisham.

At the press briefing, Dr Noor Hisham showed a graph detailing the Covid-19 modelling and projection by the National Institute of Health.

The graph showed that if the ministry’s standard operating procedures (SOP) are adhered to strictly, the number of daily cases will go down to single digits while the R0 will be less than 0.3.

However, if the R0 goes up to 1.60 due to the public’s failure to adhere to SOPs, there will be an exponential surge in the number of new cases.

“The 0.3 R0 value is due to the effects of the third and fourth phase of the MCO two weeks ago.

“Now, we look forward to seeing if easing restrictions under the conditional MCO will bring the R0 up or down.

“If the R0 goes up, it is a warning for us to take drastic action. So, whether or not we go back to the MCO all depends on Malaysians and their ability to observe social discipline, ” he said.

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