KUALA LUMPUR: The authorities must emphasise the importance of adhering to the standard operating procedure (SOP) and impose strict enforcement in view of concerns over the increasing number of Covid-19 cases, says the Malaysian Medical Association (MMA).
Its president Dr N. Ganabaskaran said the level of infectivity or R0 (R-naught) was at 3.55 before the movement control order (MCO) and dipped to 0.3 during the MCO.
“But it has now gone up to 1.36, which is a concern.
“If the R0 rises further, the risk of more people getting infected will increase and tighter restrictions may need to be introduced,” he said in response to the concern of the country hitting triple-digit Covid-19 cases again.
Dr Ganabaskaran said tighter restrictions might need to be introduced if the R0 rose, adding that the level of R0 would indicate the risk level.
On Monday, Health director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah warned that a third wave of Covid-19 infections could occur if people continued to flout the SOP.
He said if the R0 were to exceed 1.6, there was a possibility of a third wave of infections happening.
On July 23, he said the R0 rate was 1.36, a big increase compared to 0.3 during the MCO phase.
Dr Ganabaskaran said businesses could also play an important role by encouraging workers to work from home where possible to reduce the number of people in cities.
“There should be a collective effort by businesses to avoid another MCO,” he said.
He added that the current clusters needed to be monitored to see how widespread they were.
If the transmissions were localised in a certain area, then an enhanced MCO could be introduced, he said, adding that if they were more widespread, there might be no option but to bring back the MCO.“The challenge will be contact tracing, which will be more difficult now that business activity has resumed and there are no restrictions in movements,” he said.
Meanwhile, MMA reminded the public about the importance of maintaining preventive measures over the long Hari Raya Aidiladha weekend.
“It is advisable to maintain physical distancing when visiting loved ones during this time as cases of Covid-19 have started to increase and may rise further if we do not adhere to the SOP.
“Stay safe. Wear a face mask when you are around people and maintain good hand hygiene,” Dr Ganabaskaran said.
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