PETALING JAYA: The third wave of the Covid-19 infection rate or R-naught had been reduced to 1.5 within four weeks from a starting level of 2.2, says Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah.
The R, or reproduction number, is the rate of infectivity and estimates the average number of people that one positive Covid-19 patient can infect.
In a special press conference on Sunday (Oct 18), the Health director-general said the infection rate was lower than the starting level of the second wave, which was 3.5.
"We successfully reduced it then to 0.3.
"But the third wave is more challenging despite us being more ready from capacity and public health works.
"The R0 value on Sept 20 was 2.2 but in four weeks, it went down to between 1.3 and 1.5. It can be estimated that daily cases will still increase but it won't be drastic," he said.
He said even if the RO value stayed at 2.2, the number of infections could be more than 1,000 a day.
"If we don't do anything, cases will keep increasing. Possibly to 1,000 (per day) to 3,000. If this continues to Oct 31, we might even see up to 5,000 cases.
"If we follow projections of a value of 1.5, it might reach 1,300 or 1,200 cases a day by Oct 31. We are worried but if all work together, we can reduce this.
"What we have to do is reduce the RO to less than one. Efforts must be increased and people should stay at home.
"To balance life and livelihood, the government has implemented the conditional movement control order (MCO) in certain areas. This approach is hoped to flatten the curve even though it may take some time to do so," he said.