KUALA LUMPUR, May 13 — The Ministry of Health (MOH) has finally published its Covid-19 epidemiological model, warning Malaysia that cases could increase to more than 100 daily by July, if health guidelines were not followed.
Health director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said the outcome of the Conditional Movement Control Order (CMCO) that is currently implemented nationwide has yet to be seen, given that the 14-day incubation period of the coronavirus has not passed since the first phase of CMCO, which began on May 4.
“In terms of the CMCO, we have not seen the outcome of CMCO yet; we have seen the outcome of MCO. CMCO’s outcome will be on May 18. At least (after) the incubation period of 14 days, then we’ll see.
“If cases, after the 18th (of May), (are) still within our control, that means we can open up more and come up with more SOP (standard operating procedures) etc. If cases continue to increase or R0 continues to increase, then we have to reverse our decision,” explained Dr Noor Hisham at a press conference today.
The coronavirus epidemiological model by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) under MOH showed that the R0 (produced R naught) — which refers to the average number of infections of a virus at the beginning of an outbreak within a society — was 3.5 at the start of the very first implementation of Movement Control Order (MCO) on March 18. This means that an average sick person will likely infect 3.5 other people.
The graph progressed to flatten over the various MCOs and the R-value was shown to have reduced from 3.5 to 0.3 now, which shows a positive outcome from the movement restrictions implemented.
However, according to NIH’s model, the R0 could rise to 1.6 by July 14 if MOH’s SOPs on safe distancing and good hygiene are not followed.
“The value of ‘R’ can be decreased if proper precautions are taken continuously in the society. Likewise, this value can rise again if the society is non-compliant to the SOP,” said Dr Noor Hisham.
“Lowering the value of ‘R’ to less than one continuously will help to end an outbreak.
“When we open the economy sector, we are opening up in stages. Now we are observing the cases day to day in terms of active potential cases. If we can control, in terms of R0, if we can control the situation, then we will make the decision in time to come,” said Dr Noor Hisham.
He continued to reiterate that the public’s cooperation and compliance to SOP is key to ending the movement restrictions imposed by the government in order to contain the spread of Covid-19, even though the virus would be around for at least one to two years.
“The choice now is up to the public, whether we can comply–social compliance, social discipline, social responsibility.
“If we can comply with our SOP and we can bring down the R0, then rest assured we will open one after another, the economy sector, as well as, we are also considering the social sector and the education sector,” said Dr Noor Hisham.
MOH reported 37 new Covid-19 cases today, including four imported cases, which means that 33 are local transmissions. Two deaths from Covid-19 were reported today, which brings the total death toll to 111 as of today.