Covid-19 Kills Baby In Sabah, Second Infant Death In Malaysia

By CodeBlue | 09 November 2020

Health DG says the RM3 billion Covid-19 vaccine allocation is not under MOH; MOSTI’s entire 2021 budget is less than RM1 billion.

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KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 9 — Health authorities today reported the death of a one-year-old baby from Covid-19 in Sabah, among eight fatalities recorded today, marking the second infant death from coronavirus in Malaysia.

Death case 290 — a one-year-old baby boy with underlying congenital heart disease, Down syndrome, and hypothyroidism — had died due to Covid-19 infection in Hospital Duchess of Kent Sandakan.

The Ministry of Health (MOH) previously reported the first death case among infants in Malaysia on October 6 — a one year-old baby girl with no underlying conditions who died in Semporna Hospital in Sabah. A 14-year-old boy with tuberculosis, also in Sabah, had succumbed to Covid-19, MOH reported on November 3.

Today, MOH reported eight deaths in total, bringing the Covid-19 death toll to 294. Seven cases were reported in Sabah (three in Sandakan, two in Kota Kinabalu, and one each in Tuaran and Tawau), while one fatality was reported in Labuan.

Malaysia reported 972 positive Covid-19 cases today, pushing active infections up to 11,308.

During a press conference reporting on Malaysia’s daily Covid-19 cases, Health director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah revealed that the RM3 billion allocated for Covid-19 vaccines next year has not been parked with MOH, but “another ministry”. He did not specify which.

The entire 2021 budget of the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation, which has been spearheading efforts to procure coronavirus vaccines for the country, falls less than RM1 billion; it is RM935.4 million, according to the Estimated Federal Expenditure 2021 on the Treasury’s website.

The RM3 billion allocation for Covid-19 vaccines may then be parked under the Covid-19 Fund, which is governed by separate legislation from the federal budget, the Temporary Measures for Government Financing (Coronavirus Disease 2019) Act. Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim questioned in Parliament earlier today on the whereabouts of the vaccine funding allocation.

However, the Temporary Measures for Government Financing (Coronavirus Disease 2019) Act, which has allocated RM45 billion in the Covid-19 Fund for economic stimulus packages and economic recovery plans, does not list any Covid-19 vaccine programme. Section 5(2) of the law, however, mentions that the Minister may appropriate funding for a programme in aid of “any other programme”.

Dr Noor Hisham also told the public today not to panic-buy for Deepavali, as crowding of supermarkets will foster the spread of the coronavirus.

“When we implement CMCO (Conditional Movement Control Order), shops and the economic sector are still open. So if shops are open, we do not have to panic-buy,” Dr Noor Hisham said.

“If we panic-buy, there will be crowding in the supermarket, hence the spread of infection can happen if there’s a positive case. We advise all those celebrating Deepavali to not panic buy as shops are still open and we need to plan our purchasing and so on,” he added.

The Health director-general said the CMCO implemented across all states in Peninsular Malaysia, except for Pahang, Perlis, and Kelantan, from today till December 6 is unlike the first Movement Control Order, whereby the economic sector is not allowed to function.

He stated that the CMCO is to limit or control the movement of people, especially for social purposes like weddings that can be postponed.

The Health director-general also pointed out that although the CMCO is scheduled for four weeks, it may be ended within two weeks of implementation, if the infectivity curve is flattened.

“Now our prediction is four weeks. But we see now, Sabah for example, the cases are decreasing. Today it is only 370 cases compared to yesterday.”

“If we look at a period of one week, the daily community cases are going down,” Dr Noor Hisham said.

The four-week extension of the CMCO comes on top of previous four weeks’ movement restrictions in the Klang Valley that were first enforced from October 14. Sabah has been under CMCO since October 13. The Sarawak state government has implemented CMCO in Kuching from today until November 22.

National Covid-19 Highlights

Malaysia reported 972 positive Covid-19 cases today, bringing the total number of Covid-19 cases reported till date to 41,181 cases.

The breakdown of the 967 locally transmitted Covid-19 cases according to states is as below:

  • Sabah: 370 cases
  • Negeri Sembilan: 260 cases
  • Selangor: 137 cases
  • Labuan: 63 cases
  • Kuala Lumpur: 20 cases
  • Perak : 51 cases
  • Penang: 34 cases
  • Kedah: eight cases
  • Johor: eight cases
  • Melaka: five cases
  • Putrajaya : five cases
  • Sarawak: four cases
  • Kelantan: two cases

MOH also reported six new clusters today. Details of each cluster is as below:

  • Nahaba cluster in Kota Belud, Sabah (detected during a symptomatic screening)
  • Numbak cluster in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah (detected during a pre-hospital admission screening)
  • Perigi cluster in Klang, Selangor (detected during a workplace screening)
  • Seri Terapi cluster in Kepong, Kuala Lumpur and Alor Gajah Melaka (detected during a symptomatic screening)
  • Padang cluster in Kota Tinggi Johor (detected during a symptomatic screening)

Currently, there are 86 Covid-19 patients in the intensive care unit with 31 of them on ventilator support.

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