PETALING JAYA: As Malaysia transitions into the endemic phase of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Health Ministry is gradually moving away from its practice of reporting daily case figures.
Since the start of the pandemic in January last year, the Health Ministry has been releasing the latest Covid-19 case figures on a daily basis through Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah’s press releases.
The country’s total number would then be broken down to state-based figures, which served as an indicator of where the virus outbreak was concentrated at.
Since September, however, the ministry started to move away from the old model of reporting case figures and concentrating on more vital indicators such as hospital admission rates.
“We have been focusing exclusively on daily case numbers for too long.
“As we transition to endemicity, we will still report daily cases. But the details will be uploaded together with all other important data/indicators on CovidNow at night from now on,” Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said on Twitter recently.
Beginning last Saturday, Dr Noor Hisham’s daily press releases only included the national case tally and did not contain state breakdowns.
An official said that in the coming days, the daily press statements will have reduced content and will only address analysis and issues.
Detailed daily Covid-19 statistics will be uploaded on the CovidNow website after midnight.
In a television interview on Sunday night, Khairy said Malaysia needs to stop obsessing over daily case figures, especially with 98% of all positive cases being mild and asymptomatic infections.
He said the country’s Covid-19 situation is better evaluated through other indicators like hospitalisation rates and number of deaths.
“Most of today’s cases, 98% of them are Category 1 and Category 2 infections. It means either they are asymptomatic or have mild symptoms.
“This is due to our widespread vaccination coverage.
“So we need to look at indicators. Do not be too focused on daily case figures. Although that is still important, it must be analysed and read together with other indicators such as deaths.
“With deaths for example, we saw how there were 2,344 fatalities in the first week of August. This week, there were 360 deaths. That’s a reduction of 85%.
“As for brought-in-dead cases, the figures have gone down by 89%.
“At the peak of the current wave, our utilisation of intensive care unit (ICU) beds was at 95%. Today, it is at 60%.
“We haven’t won the war against Covid-19 and are still a long way from the endemic phase. But from these indicators, we can see that we are transitioning towards endemicity,” Khairy said during the interview.
On the homepage of the CovidNow website, the main figures on display is the number of current active cases, which is then broken down to where the patients are at.
The latest figures, as at 11.59pm on Sunday, shows that active cases have gone down by 3,650 from the previous day to 116,596 active cases.
Of that, 79.3% are under home isolation while 13.4% are at quarantine centres. Another 6.6% are hospitalised, while 0.6% are at ICUs.
Visitors to the page can then select states to see their respective breakdowns.
There are also graphs to show uptrends and downtrends of cases, deaths and other indicators.