PUTRAJAYA: The government is concerned that a third wave of Covid-19 infections could occur if people continue to flout standard operating procedures (SOP) in place, says Health director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah (pic).
The first wave of the Covid-19 outbreak in Malaysia was through tourists from China early this year, while the second wave comprised import cases.
Likening Covid-19 positive cases and new active clusters to smouldering “embers" and people flouting the SOP to "fuel", Dr Noor Hisham warned that it could result in a “wildfire” if these two elements were to come together.
He reiterated that if the infectivity rate or the R-naught (R0) exceeds 1.6, there was a possibility of a third wave of infections happening.
On July 23, he said that the R0 rate stood at 1.36, a big increase compared to 0.3 during the movement control order (MCO) phase.
"The possibility (of a third wave) is still there if people do not follow the SOP.
"We have an increase of active cases and new clusters and they are like burning embers waiting to burn.
"People who do not follow SOP are like fuel. When embers land on fuel, a huge fire will spread and cases will rise sharply.
"For example, if we get 2,000 to 3,000 new cases daily, within a week, our hospitals will be at full capacity and we will not be able to treat patients," he said during his weekly briefing on Monday (July 27).
He said that if cases spread in huge numbers, the government would have to train all its focus on treating cases at hospitals instead of focusing on preventing infections, like what it is doing now.
He said that SOP such as wearing face masks and practising social distancing had proven to be effective in preventing transmissions and urged Malaysians to observe them.
There are currently 179 active Covid-19 cases in the country.