Covid-19: Rise in cases, but level of severity remains manageable, says KJ


PUTRAJAYA: Despite the increase in Covid-19 infections and hospitalisations two weeks after the country announced relaxation of curbs, the Health Ministry says the level of severity still remains at a manageable level.

Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said an increase in Covid-19 infections is expected following the country’s reopening, but as long as the number of serious cases stays low, the situation is still under control.

“Overall, the RT (infectivity rate) has gone down to 1.04 today. The number of daily Covid-19 deaths remains at single digit. Although there’s been an increase in hospital admissions, about 55% of them are those in Category 1 and 2.

“These admissions are pre-emptive measures and involve mostly elderly folk or those with comorbidities.

“With more events, gatherings, movement of people, the number of infections is expected to rise.

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“But the number of serious cases, including intensive care unit admissions, has not gone up exponentially,” said Khairy to reporters at the Health Ministry’s Hari Raya Aidilfitri open house here at the Putrajaya International Convention Centre (PICC) on Tuesday (May 17).

On Monday (May 16), Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said the number of new Covid-19 cases in the 19th epidemiological week (ME19) (May 8-14) increased by 119.2% to 19,137 cases, compared with 8,732 cases in ME18.

The number of Covid-19 patient admissions to health facilities, public hospitals and Covid-19 quarantine and treatment centres (PKRCs) per 100,000 population also increased by 38% in ME19 compared to ME18.

As Malaysia gradually transitions into the endemic phase, Khairy said recurring spikes in Covid-19 infections is inevitable.

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“When we made the decision to live with the virus, we had to accept the fact that waves of Covid-19 infection will appear from time to time. It will go up and then go down.

“But for the Health Ministry, we are more concerned about the number of serious cases instead of the number of infections.

“If there is a rise in Covid-19 cases but severity is low, it means that we can live with the virus. At the moment, this is the situation.

“However, if a new variant that is more infectious and dangerous emerges, then we might need to take a different measure,” said Khairy.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob was among those who attended the ministry’s Hari Raya do.

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