PETALING JAYA: The percentage of Covid-19 cases in the Klang Valley may have come down following the Operation Surge Capacity but health experts say more data and observation are needed to evaluate the real situation in the community.
They said the plateauing of cases two weeks after the operation ended was encouraging but its overall success could only be determined in the coming weeks.
Selangor, Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya had a combined total of 9,776 cases on July 23. This amounted to 62.8% of the 15,573 recorded Covid-19 cases in the country.
On Aug 12, less than a fortnight after Operation Surge Capacity ended on Aug 1, the numbers dropped to 8,770 cases.
This figure contributed to 40% of the nation’s total infections of 21,668.
Meanwhile, the infectivity rate for Selangor as at Aug 12 was 1.00, Kuala Lumpur (1.02) and Putrajaya (0.95). This is below the national infectivity value of 1.05.
The infectivity rate of a virus is a measure of its transmission or the number of new infections generated by each case.
An infectivity rate of above 1.0 means more people will get infected, while a value of below one means the number of cases will go down.
Universiti Malaya professor of epidemiology and public health Prof Dr Sanjay Rampal said the plateauing of daily cases in the Klang Valley over the past week was a “very encouraging sign”.
He noted the effect was likely due to multiple factors, including the setting up of the Greater Klang Valley Special Task Force and the implementation of the Operation Surge Capacity to ramp up healthcare response and vaccination rates.
“The full effect of the vaccination programme will continue to be felt in the coming weeks and will be further amplified as vaccine coverage increases,” said Dr Sanjay.
He noted that the vaccination drive would also have a greater effect in decreasing hospital admissions and deaths.
He said this would be better assessed in the coming weeks and early next month due to the lag between infection and hospitalisation.
Lauding the synergy in using a whole of society approach towards managing this pandemic, Dr Sanjay added that the Greater Klang Valley Special Task Force was one model that could be replicated at the national or regional level to harness its effectiveness.
The Covid-19 Immunisation Task Force (CITF) launched Operation Surge Capacity on July 16, with the aim to vaccinate all adult residents of Kuala Lumpur and Selangor by Aug 1.
International Islamic University of Malaysia public health specialist Asst Prof Dr Mohammad Farhan Rusli said the number of cases had not reduced dramatically.
He noted that there were many reports of foreign workers, both documented and undocumented, who had yet to be vaccinated.
“As the number of vaccinations increased in the Klang Valley together with Operation Surge Capacity, images of people waiting in line at walk-in vaccination centres have shown that there are many more who have yet to be vaccinated.
“The indicators we must look at are the number of new clusters, reduction in admissions and ultimately the lowering of infection rates.
“Until these indicators show improvement, the effects cannot be measured,” he said.
Malaysian Public Health Physicians’ Association president Datuk Dr Zainal Ariffin Omar pointed out that the figures of positive cases in the Klang Valley might not reflect the real situation following a change in the testing strategy here.
“The strategy in the Klang Valley is now to test only positive and symptomatic cases, while no testing is done for close contacts or asymptomatic cases compared to before,” he said.
“If there are cases among them, they won’t be reflected in the real case figures.”
He also noted that the percentage of cases in the Klang Valley declined due to an increase in cases in other states that caused the national figure or denominator to increase.