KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 16 — With 1,295 new Covid-19 cases reported today, Malaysia’s cumulative coronavirus infections have topped China, believed to be the origin of the novel coronavirus.
Malaysia’s total number of Covid-19 cases is now 87,913, higher than the cumulative 86,770 reported cases in the Chinese mainland with a 1.4 billion population, almost 43 times bigger than Malaysia’s estimated 32.7 million population.
Malaysia now has the 79th highest total Covid-19 cases in the world. Other ASEAN countries reporting a larger number of coronavirus infections than Malaysia are Indonesia ranked 19th (636,154 cases), the Philippines at 28th (452,988), and Myanmar at 69th (110,667).
The World Health Organization’s (WHO) tracking of global Covid-19 cases lumps infections reported in Hong Kong, Macao, and Taiwan together with China, at 95,279 cases. The Chinese government reported 8,509 confirmed coronavirus infections in those three jurisdictions to date, totalling 95,279 cases together with the 86,770 infections in mainland China.
The coronavirus infection, which has now become a global pandemic, was first detected in the small city of Wuhan in China. It was reportedly traced back to a 55-year-old individual on November 17, 2019, though it is unclear if that person is Patient Zero.
Doctors and scientists found that after the first reported case on November 17, about one to five Covid-19 cases were recorded daily in China. The city of Wuhan went into a strict 76-day lockdown and today, Business Insider reported that Wuhan has claimed that it’s now virus-free and life is returning to normal around the central city of China.
The first case of Covid-19 was detected in Malaysia on January 25 among three Chinese nationals who had close contacts with a coronavirus patient in Singapore. They had travelled into Malaysia via Singapore on January 24.
Malaysia’s Covid-19 cases drastically dropped in the middle of the year, but started picking up again when it saw the third wave of the epidemic after Sabah’s September 26 state election.
Over the past three weeks, Malaysia was recording 10,000 new infections almost every eight days.
While over the past two weeks from December 3, China has only been reporting either single-digit or double-digit cases, Malaysia has been reporting either three or four-digit cases.
The daily average cases in Malaysia from December 3 till December 9 was 1,178 cases, which was 74 times higher than the average daily cases in China at 16.
Meanwhile, the average daily Covid-19 cases from December 10 till December 16 rose in Malaysia to 1,664 cases, but still way higher than China’s daily average of 15.
China, with a population of 1,441,894,484 people, has a lower number of Covid-19 cases per 100,000 population as compared to Malaysia that has an estimated population of 32.7 million people this year. Malaysia’s Covid-19 cases per 100,000 population (270) was 45 times higher than that of China (six).
Today, Malaysia reported seven new Covid-19 deaths, bringing the total number of casualties to 429. Although China’s deaths due to Covid-19 total 4,634, which is 11 times higher than Malaysia, the deaths per 100,000 population in Malaysia of 1.32 is about quadruple China’s deaths per 100,000 population at 0.32.
Malaysia has 14,751 active Covid-19 cases as of today. Selangor reported the highest number of new infections today at 481 cases, or 37.1 per cent of total cases nationwide. Sabah reported the second highest number of Covid-19 cases at 268 (or 20.7 per cent), while Kuala Lumpur was the third highest at 232 new cases (17.9 per cent).
A total of 113 Covid-19 patients are in intensive care, including 53 on ventilator support. Malaysia’s case fatality rate is 0.49 per cent. Sabah continued to report the majority of Covid-19 deaths, comprising five of fatalities reported today.
The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) model that is also used by the Trump’s administration has projected that from February 25, Malaysia will be having over 5,000 daily Covid-19 infections, while the total deaths would reach 1,325 fatalities by April 1,2021.
It is unclear how the government is currently managing the coronavirus epidemic. During the first wave, Malaysia imposed a strict nationwide seven-week lockdown from mid-March, which successfully brought down Covid-19 cases. During the third wave, although the government imposed the conditional movement control order (CMCO) in many states, prohibiting interstate and inter-district movements, Covid-19 cases continued to rise.
Now that inter-state and inter-district restrictions have been lifted and the government has not announced that it will do mass testing on all citizens, it is unknown how the government is planning to bring down the consistently high number of Covid-19 cases.
Meanwhile, the government has managed to procure Covid-19 vaccines for 30 percent of its population, in which one million doses of Pfizer’s two-dose regimen vaccine will be delivered in the first quarter of next year. This could mean that 500,000 citizens will be getting a Covid-19 vaccine by March.