New Covid-19 Cases Mostly Involve Foreigners: MOH

The number of daily Covid-19 cases is not decreasing as fast as MOH hoped, but Health DG says he’s happy as long as it’s below 50.

KUALA LUMPUR, May 19 — Immigrants form the bulk of daily new Covid-19 cases in Malaysia that has steadily remained in double-digits, the Ministry of Health (MOH) said today.

The trend of below 100 confirmed coronavirus cases each day has continued since the Conditional Movement Control Order (CMCO) was implemented on May 4 that allowed most businesses to resume full operations. The nation is now in the second phase of CMCO, which began on May 13 and is set to end on June 9.

“If you look into our daily cases, today we have 37 cases and then we minus imported cases, two cases, we have 35. Out of the 35 cases that we have, local transmissions of foreigners are 22, so we are looking at double digits but lower double digits,” said Dr Noor Hisham at a press conference today.

He further explained that the MOH is still closely monitoring two areas under the Enhanced Movement Control Order (EMCO), which include the Pasar Chow Kit and Pudu locality, and that all of the foreigners in these areas are screened for Covid-19.

“We still have two areas that we have targeted EMCO areas — Pasar Chow Kit and Pudu locality. These two active areas that we are looking into and we are testing a lot of foreigners there,” he said.

“Although it is local transmission, but majority involve foreigners. Likewise, yesterday (is) the same thing — local transmissions but involve foreigners. Malaysians’ (involvement) basically is less than 10 to 12 cases,” explained Dr Noor Hisham.

The Health director-general previously reiterated that the country has yet to enter the Covid-19 exit strategy phase, but rather adopted a “soft landing” approach with the current CMCO, where a targeted testing approach is still the strategy employed by the MOH.

“As far as we are concerned, we are still on target based on modelling. When we look back two weeks from May 4, certainly the cases have not increased, but it is not decreasing as fast as we want.

“As long as we can maintain about 20 cases or even 15 cases, then our public health team can take action (on) these cases that have been identified. So, that is more important in terms of public health actions to prevent the spreading,” explained Dr Noor Hisham.

He also noted that the MOH hopes to see the preservation of the double-digit daily new Covid-19 cases in the next couple of days as the Hari Raya celebration nears.

“We have been seeing the maintaining of double digits from MCO3 as well as MCO4 and CMCO1. Most important is that there is no sudden surge in cases to more than three digits.

“As long as we are below 50, I am quite happy, but our target is to aim to go lower than this,” said Dr Noor Hisham, reiterating that the public’s compliance to the standard operating procedures (SOP) set by the MOH is of utmost importance in the nation’s battle against Covid-19.

MOH today reported 37 new Covid-19 cases. Two cases were imported, which means that 35 were local transmissions, including 22 foreigners. The total cases of Covid-19 in Malaysia as of today is 6,978. One death was reported today; the Covid-19 death toll in the country as of today is 114.

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