PETALING JAYA: As the daily Covid-19 cases in the country hit past the 3,000 mark for the first time, Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah has warned that the number of cases could reach 8,000 a day in March if the infectivity rate – known as R-naught (R0) – stays at 1.2.
Yesterday’s 3,027 cases, the highest since the pandemic started, exceeded the previous day’s record high of 2,593 cases.
Dr Noor Hisham, referring to a Susceptible-Exposed-Infectious-Removed (SEIR) model on the forecasts of daily cases from January to May, said daily cases could reach 5,000 by mid-February and 3,000 cases in the fourth week of January.
“We have to reduce the R0 to 0.5 to break the chain of infection in the country, ” the Health director-general said in a Facebook post yesterday.
The post was accompanied by forecasts if the R0 was at 1.1 and 1.2.
At the lower R0 rate of 1.1, Malaysia would only reach the 8,000 cases mark in the fourth week of May; 5,000 cases by the second week of April and 3,000 cases by the second week of February.
Dr Noor Hisham had said that the current R0 was between 1.1 and 1.2.
Yesterday, the country recorded eight more deaths due to the coronavirus, raising Malaysia’s Covid-19 death toll to 521.
Dr Noor Hisham said that the total cumulative confirmed Covid-19 cases currently stood at 128,456, with the number of active cases rising to 25,724.
“A cumulative total of 102,723 patients have been discharged with 2,145 new recoveries, ” he added.
He said there were currently 142 patients in intensive care, with 63 requiring ventilator support.
He also revealed that six cases recorded yesterday were imported infections while the remaining 3,021 were local transmissions.
Meanwhile, Dr Noor Hisham said Johor chalked up the highest number of cases yesterday with 1,103 new cases, bringing the total number of cases in the state to 9,002.
This, he added, was followed by Selangor with 706 new cases, Sabah (493) and Kuala Lumpur (316).
Sabah recorded a cumulative total of 39,453 cases, Selangor (37,347) and Kuala Lumpur (15,258).
Dr Noor Hashim said nine new Covid-19 clusters were detected in the country, bringing the total number of active clusters to 254.
He said the nine clusters were the Senai Murni cluster in Kulai, Johor, with 66 cases, as well as in Selangor, Hartamas Construction Site in Hulu Langat (48), Damai Pelangi detention centre in Hulu Selangor (21) and Jalan Ipoh Construction Site in Kepong (98).
Other new clusters, he said, were Rungkup in Kepong (20), Desa Park in Titiwangsa (15) and Jalan Jaya in Cheras (7) in Kuala Lumpur, Ziarah Putra in Putrajaya (7) and Keranji Tambuan in Kuching (6).
On Wednesday, Dr Noor Hisham warned that the number of Covid-19 cases in the country was expected to rise in the coming weeks following the recent festive season.
This, he said, was due to the loosening of interstate travel restrictions and lack of SOP compliance.