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Uptick In COVID-19 Cases Continues, More Delta Variants Detected

KUALA LUMPUR (Bernama) – Malaysia continues to see an uptick in COVID-19 cases with new infections expected to climb further fuelled by a higher infectivity rate (Ro/Rt).

The country’s R0 (R-naught) value – or the average number of new infections generated by each case – has risen above 1.0, which means COVID-19 is accelerating.

During the week under review (Nov 13 to Nov 18), daily new cases were hovering between 5,000 and 6,000. The infectivity rate has been rising daily since Nov 6.

Health Director-General Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah  called for caution that the higher Rt has pushed new cases to climb by 11 per cent from the previous week.

In a statement on Nov 16, he said the increase in new cases and Rt values reflected the potential for COVID-19 transmission into the community.

He urged the people not to be complacent and take active steps to practise preventive measures so that COVID-19 infections in the country can be reduced immediately.

New COVID-19 cases stood at 6,380 yesterday, bringing the total cumulative figure to 2,569,533 cases.

The surge in daily new cases is reflected in the figures recorded by the Ministry of Health (MOH) below:

Nov 13 (5,809), Nov 14 (5,162), Nov 15 (5,143), Nov 16 (5,413), Nov 17 (6,288) and Nov 18 (6,380).

Selangor remains in the four-digit territory during the week, the only state with four-digit cases. The state-by-state breakdown of new cases is as below:

Nov 13 (1,601), Nov 14 (1,266), Nov 15 (1,144), Nov 16 (1,217), Nov 17 (1,615) and Nov 18 (1,448).

Selangor State Health Director, Datuk Indera Dr Sha’ri Ngadiman in a statement yesterday, said there were now 86 COVID-19 patients (suspected and confirmed cases) at the hospitals’ intensive care units in Selangor, with the capacity at 42 per cent.

As of yesterday, total COVID-19 recoveries stood at 5,760, bringing total recovered cases to 2,472,283 (96.2 per cent).

MOH infographic data as of yesterday showed active COVID-19 cases rose to 67,358.

With the cumulative figure of 2,569,533 cases, Malaysia now ranked 20th in the list of 222 nations/territories struck by the COVID-19 pandemic. Just ahead of Malaysia is the Philippines (2,821,753 cases) and South Africa (2,927,499 cases).

Of 452 patients warded at the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) yesterday, 169 needed respiratory assistance.

Another 55 fatalities were registered yesterday, bringing the total cumulative figure to 29,892.

According to Dr Noor Hisham, of the 6,380 new daily cases reported yesterday, only 98 cases (1.5 per cent) were patients in categories 3, 4 and 5 while 6,282 cases (98.5 per cent) were in categories 1 and 2.

According to MOH, category 5 is for critical cases requiring ventilators; category 4 is for patients needing oxygen assistance and category 3 is for patients with pneumonia. Category 1 is for patients who are asymptomatic and category 2 is for those with mild symptoms.

Meanwhile, the Ro/rt value continued to edge higher during the week after exceeding 1.0 on Nov 11. Below is the Ro/Rt during the week under review:

Nov 13 (1.05), Nov 14 (1.05), Nov 15 (1.05), Nov 16 (1.04), Nov 17 (1.03 ) and Nov 18 (1.02).

As of yesterday, Kuala Lumpur recorded the highest Ro/Rt value at 1.09 followed by Negeri Sembilan (1.07).

The R-Naught or R0/Rt value of a virus indicates the infectivity rate or the number of new infections generated by each case. An R0 value of 0.5 would be needed to flatten this deadly virus’ infection curve.

OTHER DEVELOPMENTS IN THE COUNTRY

On the ‘spike protein COVID-19’ mutation in Malaysia, Dr Noor Hisham said yesterday, 88 new cases reported were Variants of Concern (VOC) comprising Delta variant cases  (B.1.617.2).

All 88 new cases were detected in the following states: Selangor (19 cases), Perak (17), Negeri Sembilan (13), Johor (9), Kelantan (8), Kedah (7),  , Terengganu (6), Perlis (4), Kuala Lumpur (3) and Melaka (2).

This brings total cumulative cases infected by SARS-CoV-2 categories as VOC and Variant of Interest (VOI) to 3,918. Of the total cases, 3,898 were VOC and 20 were VOI.

Of the total VOC cases, 3,570 were Delta variants, 226 Beta variants and 14 Alpha variants.

For the record, MOH on Nov 11 reported 48 VOC cases, namely Delta variant (B.1.617.2), in three states only namely Penang (34), Pahang (12) and Perlis (2).

Meanwhile, total active clusters in Malaysia as of yesterday stood at 246 clusters. Overall, 5,867 clusters were detected in the country, with 5,621 of them having ended.

During the week, total new clusters stood at 30. Most of the new clusters were linked to the workplace (20, 66.7 per cent).

Of the total new daily cases of 6,380 reported yesterday, the state-by-state breakdown of new cases (+imported cases) is as follows:

Four-digits – Selangor 1,442 (+6).

Three-digits – Johor 564 (+2), Kedah 409, Kelantan 733, Melaka 306 (+1), Negeri Sembilan 239, Pahang 425, Perak 302 (+2), Penang 327, Sabah 534 (+7), Sarawak 308 (+3), Terengganu 297 and Kuala Lumpur 392 (+7).

Two-digits  – Putrajaya 35, Perlis 21 and Labuan 18.

COVID-19 SCENARIO (NOV 13 – NOV 18).

The breakdown of active COVID-19 cases is as below:

Nov 13 (65,319), Nov 14 (65,417), Nov 15 ( 65,956), Nov 16 (65,316), Nov 17 (66,793 ) and Nov 18 ( 67,358).

Following is the breakdown of COVID-19 patients based on their respective categories:

Of 5,809 daily cases reported on Nov 13; 102 (1.8 per cent) were categories 3, 4 and 5; and 5,707 (98.2 per cent) were categories 1 and 2.

Of 5,162 daily cases reported on Nov 14; 104 (2.0 per cent) were categories 3, 4 and 5; and 5,058 (98.0 per cent) were categories 1 and 2.

Of 5,143 daily cases reported on Nov 15; 126 (2.4 per cent) were categories 3, 4 and 5; and 5,017 (97.6 per cent) were categories 1 and 2.

Of 5,413 daily cases reported on Nov 16; 102 (1.9 per cent) were categories 3, 4 and 5; and 5,311 (98.1 per cent) were categories 1 and 2.

Of 6,288 daily cases reported on Nov 17; 125 (2.0 per cent) were categories 3, 4, and 5; and 6,163 (98.0 per cent) were categories 1 and 2.

Of 6,380 daily cases reported on Nov 18; 98 (1.5 per cent) were categories 3, 4 and 5; and 6,282 (98.5 per cent) were categories 1 and 2.

Recovered cases for the week are as below:

Nov 13 (4,712), Nov 14 (5,019), Nov 15 (4,551), Nov 16 (6,013), Nov 17 (4,743) and Nov 18 (5,760).

*cumulative recovered cases as of yesterday stood at  2,472,283 (96.2 per cent).

Following is the daily breakdown of new cases, local transmissions and other related matters:

Nov 13  – New cases :  5,809 (cumulative 2,541,147); Imported cases: 27 (21 citizens; 6 non-citizens); Local transmission:  5,782 kes [5,561 citizens (96.2 per cent);  221 non-citizens (3.8 per cent)];

Nov 14 – New cases :  5,162 (cumulative 2,546,309); Imported cases: 11 (8 citizens; 3 non-citizens); Local transmission:  5,151 [4,968 citizens (96.4 per cent);  183 non-citizens (3.6 per cent)];

Nov 15 – New cases :  5,143 (cumulative 2,551,452); Imported cases: 13 (8 citizens; 5 non-citizens); Local transmission: 5,130 [4,923 citizens (96.0 per cent);  207 non-citizens  (4.0 per cent)];

Nov 16  – New cases :  5,413 (cumulative 2,556,865); Imported cases: 17 (14 citizens; 3 non-citizens); Local transmission:  5,396 [5,172 citizens (95.8 per cent);  224 non-citizens (4.2 per cent)

Nov 17 – New cases :  6,288 (cumulative 2,563,153); Imported cases: 22 (15 citizens; 7 non-citizens); Local transmission:  6,266 [6,050 citizens (96.6 per cent);  216 non-citizens  (3.4 per cent)];

Nov 18 – New cases  :  6,380  (cumulative 2,569,533); Imported cases: 28 (19 citizens; 9 non-citizens); Local transmission:  6,352  [6,089 citizens (95.9 per cent);  263 non-citizens (4.1per cent)].

The daily breakdown in fatalities is as follows:

*BID = Brought-in-Dead are cases outside the hospital and those brought to the hospital’s forensic department; positive COVID-19 cases after PT PCR tests conducted.

Nov 13 – 55 (+BID 11), Nov 14 – 45 (+BID 12), Nov 15 – 53 (+BID 11), Nov 16 – 40 (+BID 7), Nov 17 – 68 (+BID 12) and Nov 18 – 55  (+BID 9 ).

*Total fatalities as of yesterday stood at 29,892 cases.

New clusters reported are as below:

Nov 13 – 3 clusters (workplace 3);

Nov 14 – zero cluster

Nov 15 – 3 clusters (workplace 3);

Nov 16 – 7 clusters (workplace 5, community 1 and education 1);

17 Nov – 8 clusters (workplace 5, community 2 and education 1);

Nov 18 – 9 clusters (workplace 4, community 2 and eduvation 3).

GLOBAL COVID-19 STATISTICS

According to Worldometer, total COVID-19 cases worldwide stood at 256,325,799 from 252,870,684 previously with 5,146,679 fatalities compared to 5,099,327 previous week.

Total recovered cases stood at 231,532,259 from 228,752,610 previously.

Some 222 countries are affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and those in the top 10 of the list are the United States (US), India, Brazil, United Kingdom (UK), Russia, Turkey, France, Iran, Argentina and Germany.

*Tonga 222nd nation (latest) in the list.

The breakdown is as follows:

US 48,398,455 cases (789,155 deaths);

India 34,485,517 cases (464,715 deaths);

Brazil 21,989,962 cases (612,177 deaths);

UK 9,721,916 cases (143,559 deaths);

Russia 9,219,912 cases (260,335 deaths);

Turkey 8,503,220 cases (74,428 deaths);

France 7,351,324 cases (118,373 deaths);

Iran 6,063,775 cases (128,634 deaths);

Argentina 5,312,089 cases (116,341 deaths);

Germany 5,233,821 cases (99,169 deaths).

China, where the outbreak was first reported at end-December 2019, is now at the 113th spot with 98,427 cases and 4,636 deaths.

Besides Malaysia, the five other Southeast Asian nations that have joined the list of 112 countries with more than 100,000 COVID-19 cases (* latest in the list is Rwanda) are Indonesia in the 14th spot with 4,252,345 cases (143,709 deaths); the Philippines in the 19th spot with 2,821,753 cases (45,422 deaths); Thailand in 24th place with 2,050,980 cases  (20,303 deaths); Vietnam 37th with 1,065,469 cases(23,476 deaths); Myanmar 62nd with 516,146 cases (18,989 deaths); Singapore 86th with 246,853 cases (625 deaths); Cambodia 109th with 119,741 cases (2,887 deaths); Laos 122nd with 58,798 cases (116 deaths); and Brunei 167th with 14,399 cases (96 deaths).

COVID-19 BACKGROUND

The World Health Organisation’s China country office was informed of cases of pneumonia that were detected in Wuhan on Dec 31, 2019. On Jan 7, 2020 the Chinese authorities confirmed that the newly detected novel coronavirus can be transmitted from human to human.

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that cause illnesses ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-COV).

A study of the virus’ genetic sequence suggested similarities to that seen in snakes and bats. China health officials identified the Huanan Seafood Market in Wuhan as the source of the transmission of the coronavirus.

On Feb 11, 2020, WHO announced the official name of the virus, COVID-19, which is an acronym for coronavirus 2019 – CO stands for corona, VI for virus and D for disease.

On Jan 30, 2020, WHO declared the coronavirus outbreak as a global emergency and on March 11, COVID-19 was declared a pandemic.

WHO has described the COVID-19 outbreak as much more dangerous than the A H1N1 Influenza, also known as Swine Flu.

Swine Flu, which occurred between January 2009 and August 2010, infected more than 1.6 million people and caused 18,449 fatalities. It was first detected in Mexico and later in the United States in March 2009.

COVID-19 was detected in Malaysia on Jan 25, 2020, when three Chinese citizens, who had entered Malaysia through Johore from Singapore on Jan 23, were tested positive for the disease.

New variants of the COVID-19 coronavirus have since emerged in the United Kingdom (identified as B117) in September 2020, South Africa (501Y.V2) in October 2020 and India (B.1.617), also in October 2020.

Cumulatively, Malaysia’s COVID-19 cases have breached the one million mark as on July 25, with 1,013,438 cases. The first time daily cases reached the five-digit level was on July 13 with 11,079 cases.

Sources: BERNAMA

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