Covid-19: 70% of cases in Malaysia were asymptomatic, says Health DG

PUTRAJAYA: Out of the total Covid-19 cases in the country, 70% were from asymptomatic carriers, says Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah.

The Health director-general said that of the total 8,674 positive cases detected in the country as of July 7,70.25% (6,092 cases) were asymptomatic while 29.75% (2,582) were symptomatic.

He said the high number of asymptomatic cases was detected due to the ministry's targeted screening done at, for example, areas placed under enhanced movement control order (MCO), semi-MCO and targeted MCO.

"We are actually detecting more asymptomatic cases in our community and it is important that we detect them early because of our targeted approach in certain high-risk groups that we have identified in terms of locality," he said during the ministry's press briefing on Covid-19 on Wednesday (July 8).

Dr Noor Hisham added that the ministry will continue to enhance its surveillance and testing on influenza-like illness (ILI) and severe acute respiratory infections (SARI) cases as well as pre-operative testing.

He also said temperature checks done at business premises will detect those who are symptomatic.

While he noted that the infectivity of asymptomatic carriers is probably "very low", he said the infectivity of pre-symptomatic individuals is "very high".

"As such, we are unable to differentiate between those who are asymptomatic, who have a very low risk of infection, and those who are pre-symptomatic (before they get the symptoms)."

Dr Noor Hisham added that if those who are pre-symptomatic come to the hospital to get checked and have been found to have the virus, contact tracing will then be done on the people exposed to the individual.

"We are then able to look at their close contacts to isolate them as soon as possible, and prevent them from infecting other people," he said.

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