DG: Two weeks of MCO may not be enough to reduce cases

PUTRAJAYA: The two-week movement control order period may not be enough to see a reduction in Covid-19 cases, says Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah.

The objective of the MCO is to bring down the number of cases and to improve the capacity at hospitals, which is currently overwhelmed with patients nationwide, he said.

“During these two weeks, we will be monitoring data to see whether we can reduce the number of cases.

“In my opinion, we probably won’t be able to lower the number of cases. But we will be able to prevent the cases from increasing further.

“If the MCO is implemented for four weeks, we may be able to reduce the cases to below 1,000, and then 500, ’’ he told a press conference yesterday.

Dr Noor Hisham said a longer movement restriction could help to improve the capacity at the hospitals and provide better treatment to patients.

“Implementing the MCO, followed by the conditional MCO, we might be able to see the curve flatten in May or June, ” he said, adding that it is important for now to reduce the load at hospitals.

Currently, there are 32,377 active Covid-19 cases in the country.

For the MCO to be a success, Dr Noor Hisham said it was vital for the people to cooperate and adhere to the standard operating procedures.

He urged Malaysians to stay home as much as possible, and to practice preventive measures such as washing hands and physical distancing.

“Most importantly, everyone has to come together to break the chain of infections, ” said Dr Noor Hisham.

The MCO has been implemented in Penang, Selangor, Melaka, Johor, Sabah and the Federal Territories of Kuala Lumpur, Putrajaya and Labuan until Jan 26.

Yesterday, Malaysia recorded 2,985 new cases, bringing the country’s tally to 144,518. Four more people died while 994 were discharged.

Currently, 197 patients are in intensive care, with 79 of them requiring ventilator support.

Selangor again recorded the highest increase with 837 new cases, followed by Johor with 535 and Sabah with 450.

Dr Noor Hisham said 11 new clusters were detected, most of them linked to workplaces and factories around the country.

There are now 270 active clusters across Malaysia.

He also said the person who was detected with the potentially contagious B117 Covid-19 strain from the United Kingdom has been discharged.

The 22-year-old who came back from the UK did not have any close contact as the individual had been isolated upon arrival, Dr Noor Hisham said.

The strain has not been detected in others with a travelling history to the UK, he added.

The B117 strain was first detected in September in the UK and is believed to be more contagious than the original virus.

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