‘Daily cases will rise further with more tests’


Safety first: An electronic billboard in Jalan Ampang, Kuala Lumpur, broadcasting a reminder for people to work together to stop the Covid-19 outbreak. — FAIHAN GHANI/The Star

PETALING JAYA: Don’t be alarmed over the high number of Covid-19 cases in the next few days as the daily number will decline in the coming weeks with more tests done and later restrategised, says Health deputy director-general Dr Chong Chee Kheong.

With the Health Ministry encouraging more self-testing and the use of RTK-Antigen (RTK-Ag) to detect the virus, Dr Chong said the daily Covid-19 cases would rise further.

“But do not be alarmed over the expected surge in the next few days; we need to identify as many cases as possible to reduce transmission in the community.

“As more of these positive cases and their contacts are isolated and quarantined, cases will start to gradually come down in the weeks to come. Once that happens, the testing will be restrategised to ensure effective detection of cases for isolation and monitoring,” he said in a statement yesterday.

Dr Chong, who heads the Greater Klang Valley Special Task Force for Covid-19, said the team had been working continually to put in place measures to contain the impact of the outbreak.

The task force, he added, was working hard amid the rising numbers of infections and deaths and overstretched hospital capacity, including the intensive care units.

On why the numbers are still rising in the Greater Klang Valley despite the vaccination rate being ramped up, Dr Chong said it was important to know that the size of the outbreak was far larger than the numbers detected each day.

“Many asymptomatic or pre-symptomatic individuals, who are not aware of their infection, are spreading the virus. Remember that the vaccine effectiveness is best only two weeks after the second dose, so this takes time,” he explained.

He also noted that the highly transmissible Delta variant had contributed to the situation, adding that nations with high vaccination rates had shown that infections could still occur due to the variant but with hospitalisation and severe infections significantly reduced.

He said the task force had shifted from containment to mitigation efforts to prevent deaths and minimise the spread of the disease.

The initiatives include increasing the capacity of beds, ICU care, oxygen supply, manpower deployment and use of volunteers; moving non-Covid-19 patients to the private sector to free up beds; and help from the army in logistical and manpower support.

He said the task force also hoped to offer more RTK-Ag tests to health clinics and general practitioners via sales of test kits approved by the Medical Device Authority to allow for wider testing.

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