Health DG concerned virus spreading fast

PETALING JAYA: The majority of new Covid-19 cases in the country are from sporadic infections within the community rather than clusters, says Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah.

The Health director-general noted that 92% of the cases so far involved Malaysians.

“A total of 80% of infections are not from the clusters but sporadic cases from the community.

“This is coupled with the emergence of four new variants, namely the South African (B.1.351), United Kingdom (B.117), Indian (B.1.617) and Brazilian (P.1) variants, which is a cause of concern, ” he said.

Dr Noor Hisham was speaking at a joint press conference with Senior Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob yesterday.

“We have an increase of 14 new South African variant cases, bringing the total number to 62, ” he said.

The 14 cases were detected in Kelantan (eight), Selangor (three), Kedah (two) and Negri Sembilan (one).

“We are worried that the virus is spreading fast and we believe it has already spread to many states.

“That is why we have to implement the movement control order in order to control and curb the virus, ” he said.

“The cases are rising and that is why we need to implement the MCO with regard to our hospital capacity.”

Apart from the highly infectious South African variant, he said eight cases with the UK variant and two with the Indian variant had been detected so far, while the country is still free of the Brazilian variant.

“We are worried that if the number of cases continues to spike, we will not have enough intensive care beds and ventilators to treat patients, ” said Dr Noor Hisham.

He cited the experience faced by several countries where their healthcare system was overwhelmed due to a recent spike in Covid-19 cases.

While measures were taken to ensure Covid-19 cases do not rise sharply, Dr Noor Hisham said lifting restrictions in March and SOP fatigue had made it difficult for the authorities to push the number of daily infections down to double digits.

“We also noticed that many countries faced an increase in cases in March and April, and one factor could be the new variants.

“These variants, we find, also affect the young and may lead to more severe symptoms, which require admission to ICU, ” he said.

He warned that the country was facing a continuation of the third Covid-19 wave which could result in a national crisis.

Meanwhile, Dr Noor Hisham said that a total of 3,973 new Covid-19 cases were recorded yesterday, bringing the total number of active cases to 38,499.

Of the new cases, he said 3,540 involved Malaysians and 428 foreigners.

“A total of 22 deaths were also recorded, bringing the total number of deaths to 1,722 so far, ” he said.

There are currently 452 Covid-19 patients in intensive care, 244 of whom require ventilator assistance.

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