MOH Expects A Surge In Covid-19 Cases By Year End

D614G virus mutation has been detected in three Covid-19 cases from the Tawar cluster.

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 1 — Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah today expressed the Ministry of Health’s (MOH) concern about a probable surge in Covid-19 cases in other countries from November to December due to the winter season.

The Health director-general said today that every winter, there is an increase in cases of common flu or influenza in temperate countries, reflecting that the Covid-19 infection started in Wuhan, China last year since October.

“Perhaps there will be a common flu on top of Covid-19. Our worry is that, there will be an increase exponential surge of cases and if they come to Malaysia then, we need to tighten and screen them as what we have done over the last couple of months,” Dr Noor Hisham said today at a press conference reporting on the daily Covid-19 cases in Malaysia.

“We have to take preventive measures to increase our border control, even though we see our countries experiencing two figures or one figure,” Dr Noor Hisham stressed.

He also pointed out that Malaysia needs to learn from role model countries like South Korea and New Zealand that handled the Covid-19 outbreak well, but currently have a surge in their daily coronavirus cases, to prevent the same from happening in Malaysia.

“Japan has given out instructions to not allow Malaysians and 154 other country residents from entering into their country. Other countries have taken proactive steps to control the pandemic, so we should also see how we can increase and improve our preventive measures in controlling the spread of Covid-19.”

In a press conference today, Senior Defence Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob announced that the Malaysian government will prohibit the entry of foreign nationals from India, Indonesia and the Philippines with long-term passes, who are either expatriate workers, students, or permanent residents of Malaysia.

Dr Noor Hisham highlighted that three days ago, Malaysia saw 15 imported positive Covid-19 cases, out of which 12 were returnees from India.

When asked about the Tawar cluster’s virus mutation, the Health director-general said that three cases were detected in the laboratory to have the D614G mutation, a form of mutation that has a higher infectivity which was previously seen in the Person-Under-Investigation (PUI) Sivagangga cluster.

“The phylogenetic profile with the Sivagangga cluster is the same—this mutation and Sivagangga mutation is the same but, we cannot see a public health relationship, an epidemiological link. In the laboratory, the virus is the same.”

Dr Noor Hisham also announced that on August 31, the Malaysia International Regulatory health focal point received a notification on a Covid-19 case detected in Singapore, a 53-year-old Malaysian who is a Singapore permanent resident holder who returned to Singapore on August 17.

“We have coordinated our efforts with the Singapore authorities. We are doing contact tracing to investigate the case,” Dr Noor Hisham said.

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