Malaysia Covid Spike May Spark ‘Vertical Surge,’ Health Director-General Says
Malaysia’s surge in coronavirus cases is following an exponential trend since the start of April and the nation should prepare for the worst, Health Director-General Noor Hisham Abdullah said on Twitter.
The infections could “trigger a vertical surge,” he said, asking people to comply with the new measures that require most government officials and 40% of private sector staff to work from home. “Only together we can break the chain of infection.”
New Covid-19 cases have stayed above 6,000 for seven straight days and the health ministry has said the tally may exceed 8,000 by June if people don’t follow the virus protocols. The worsening outbreak has stressed the healthcare system and prompted the government to further tighten restrictions on the weekend. A record 7,289 new infections were added on Tuesday.
Just under 3% of Malaysia’s population is fully vaccinated, though the government aims to achieve herd immunity by year-end. Meantime, the surge has left some hospitals running low on ICU beds.
The situation is dire in the state of Penang as well as the Klang Valley area, which comprises Selangor, Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya, where the use of Covid ICU beds is at full capacity, Noor Hisham said on Facebook.
“We have to stay safe and it’s safest to stay home and follow the SOPs,” Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin said in an interview with state-owned RTM television on Sunday, while ruling out a repeat of last year’s national lockdown.
Malaysia’s Covid reproduction number that shows how quickly the virus multiplies climbed to 1.21 as of Sunday, Noor Hisham said Monday. The reading was at 1.14 at the start of the Ramadan month in mid-April.
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