70% are asymptomatic carriers

PUTRAJAYA: More than 70% of Covid-19 cases in the country are from asymptomatic carriers due to the targeted screening done on high-risk groups, says Health director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah.

Of the total 8,674 positive cases detected as of Tuesday, 6,092 cases (70.25%) were asymptomatic while 2,582 cases (29.75%) were symptomatic, he said.

He said the high number of asymptomatic cases was due to its targeted approach screening done at, for example, enhanced movement control order (MCO) areas, semi-MCO areas and even targeted MCO areas.

“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 and its targeted groups,” he said during his daily press briefing yesterday.

Dr Noor Hisham said they were unable to differentiate between those who are asymptomatic, which has a very low risk of infection, and those who are presymptomatic, before they get the symptoms.

“If those who are presymptomatic come to the hospital to get checked and have been found to have the virus, contact tracing will then be done on those who have been exposed to the individual,” he said.

Dr Noor Hisham said they would continue to enhance surveillance and testing on influenza like-illness (ILI) and severe acute respiratory infections (Sari) cases as well as pre-operative testing.

Meanwhile, the country reported three new Covid-19 cases yesterday, bringing the total number to 8,677.

Dr Noor Hisham noted that all were imported cases involving Malaysians who had caught the virus overseas.

Two Covid-19 patients were being treated in the intensive care unit while one required ventilator support, he said.

Dr Noor Hisham said five patients were discharged, bringing the total cumulative discharged cases to 8,486.

No deaths were reported, keeping the death toll at 121.

With the World Health Organisation (WHO) acknowledging that there was “evidence emerging” of Covid-19 being spread airborne, Dr Noor Hisham said the standard operating procedure done in the country had been able to “break the chain of infection”.

They include the one-metre social distancing and no touching measures.

“If we practise such methods, we are able to avoid such infection rates,” he said, adding that wearing a face mask, washing hands and avoiding crowds could prevent the spread of the virus.

Reuters reported that the WHO had acknowledged that the virus could be airborne after a group of scientists urged it to update its guidelines on how the virus passed between people.

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