KUALA LUMPUR, April 15 — Malaysia today reported 85 new Covid-19 infections, the lowest single-day increase in a month, with the total coronavirus cases in the country now reaching 5,072.
The government imposed the Movement Control Order (MCO) nearly a month ago since March 18. The nationwide partial lockdown has been extended to April 28.
Today was the first time new Covid-19 infections were reported in double digits, with new cases every day since March 15 in the triple digits, reaching a high of 235 infections on March 26.
Health director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said one new coronavirus-related death was reported today, leading to a total of 83 fatalities.
The Ministry of Health (MOH) also reported 56 coronavirus patients in the intensive care unit (ICU) as of today, including 32 on ventilator support. The number of ICU and ventilated Covid-19 cases in Malaysia have been steadily declining since April 1.
A total of 169 new recoveries from Covid-19 was reported today, nearly double the number of new cases confirmed today. A total of 2,647 people have recovered from coronavirus and were discharged from hospital in Malaysia.
Dr Noor Hisham also claimed that the R0 (pronounced R-naught) of Covid-19 was declining from 3.55 before the implementation of the first two phases of the MCO. A figure of 3.55 refers to the average number of people that can get infected by a sick person.
He stressed that more importantly, coronavirus infectivity was dropping in Malaysia, referring to the number of active infectious cases that is taken from deducting recoveries and fatalities from cumulative cases.
Malaysia currently has 2,342 infectious patients, all of whom are in hospital, regardless of whether they display symptoms or not. MOH’s target was 2,033 as of today.
“So if we can bring down further, that means the infectivity in the community will be less,” Dr Noor Hisham said.
“So our policy in this country, [if] you’re positive, we’ll come and get you, whether you’re asymptomatic or not. In other countries, asymptomatic positive, they advise to be at home. Here we monitor them in our hospital.”
He also said Malaysia may have various strains of Covid-19, as the second wave of cases involved imported infections from Malaysians returning from different countries like China, the United Kingdom, the United States, and others. Different regions, he said, could have different strains of the virus.
“What we’re doing in IMR (Institute of Medical Research), we try to isolate and culture the virus. Once we culture the virus, we compare.”