Covid-19: Conditional MCO has led to improvement in virus infectivity rate, says Health DG

PUTRAJAYA: The first week of the conditional movement control order (MCO) in the Klang Valley and Sabah has produced some improvements in Covid-19 infectivity, says Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah.

The Health director-general said the country’s R0 (R-naught) value, which measures the infectivity rate of a virus outbreak, has gone down from 2.2 to 1.5 in the past week.

However, Dr Noor Hisham said the improvement is not good enough and needs to be below 1.0 before the country decides whether to continue with the conditional MCO.

“We have seen in the past one week how the R0 was 2.2 and has now gone down to 1.5. This is not good enough. Although we have seen an improvement, we can do better.

“We still have one more week to go. If we manage to bring down the R0 to 0.3 that would be good. But we are still monitoring this every day, ” said Dr Noor Hisham at the Health Ministry’s Covid-19 press conference here on Tuesday (Oct 20).

Dr Noor Hisham said that with an R0 of 2.2, Malaysia could reach 4,500 Covid-19 cases a day by Oct 31.

“Thankfully, our R0 right now is 1.5, which means our cases could reach 1,300 cases a day on Oct 31. We do not want that, so we must bring down the R0 to less than one, ” said Dr Noor Hisham.

The conditional MCO is currently implemented in Sabah as well as Selangor, Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya.

Sabah’s conditional MCO is expected to end on Oct 26, while in the Klang Valley states, the order is until Oct 27.

However, this is still subject to the government’s decision whether to extend the conditional MCO.

Dr Noor Hisham said the decision was made to implement a conditional MCO instead of a full-fledged MCO where everyone is under strict lockdown orders.

“I think the conditional MCO helps. The decision to go for it is for us to strike a balance between life and livelihood.

“The MCO would have worked in a shorter period of time, but it comes with a cost for the country.

“With the conditional MCO, we allow the economy to function, but we control the social, education and sports sectors, ” said Dr Noor Hisham.

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