Covid-19 Watch: 313% increase in clusters involving educational institutions

PETALING JAYA: A 313.3% increase was recorded among Covid-19 clusters at educational institutions in epidemiology week 3.

In a statement on Monday (Jan 24), Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said 62 new clusters were recorded at educational institutions, 18 at workplaces, four at high-risk centres and one each from communities, detention centres and import cases.

This brought the total number of active clusters nationwide to 225, a 27.8% increase compared to epidemiology week 2.

"The increasing number of clusters at educational institutions is very worrying due to the composition of individuals from different backgrounds being together at the same time and place.

"This can cause more clusters to happen when individuals do not adhere to the standard operating procedures (SOP) in place," he said.

Dr Noor Hisham added that although the majority of the adult and teenage population had already received the Covid-19 vaccine, adherence to SOP should always be prioritised.

"The Health Ministry also reminds those experiencing symptoms to undergo Covid-19 screenings before heading to schools or other educational institutions.

"The safety and wellbeing of those at educational institutions should be prioritised to reduce and prevent the increase of clusters as well," he said.

He added that the ministry would continuously have discussions with the Education Ministry and Higher Education Ministry to strengthen measures in preventing the spread of the virus.

Dr Noor Hisham added that the number of beds taken up at Covid-19 treatment and quarantine centres had also increased compared to epidemiology week 2.

There was however a decrease in the number of beds used in both intensive care units and non-intensive care units with no changes recorded for individuals requiring respiratory assistance.

"Although the Omicron wave was expected to result in an increase of short stay admissions, only a 4% increase was recorded for beds in treatment and quarantine centres.

"This decrease is in line with the increasing number of individuals who have received their booster dose," he said.

On the infectivity rate, Dr Noor Hisham said the national R-nought rate stood at 1.08 with 10 states and territories recording a rate of 1.0 and above.

These were Negri Sembilan (1.14), Kuala Lumpur (1.09), Kedah (1.08), Melaka (1.08), Johor (1.08), Selangor (1.04), Penang (1.02), Pahang (1.02) and Perak (1.0).

Perlis, Sarawak and Labuan were the lowest on the chart with a zero infectivity rate recorded.

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