Nearly 6,000 New Covid Cases, 100,000 Infections In 36 days

Malaysia reported a record 5,725 new Covid-19 cases today, two weeks into a nationwide lockdown.

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 29 — Malaysia reported a 24-hour record high of 5,725 Covid-19 cases, leading to a cumulative 203,933 Covid-19 infections in just about a year since the virus hit the country on January 25, 2020. 

Today’s 5,725 new Covid-19 cases include Selangor’s fresh record high figure of 3,126 new confirmed infections, followed by Kuala Lumpur (687 cases) and Johor (684 cases). These two states and the capital city have registered 78.6 per cent of total new Covid-19 infections today.

Malaysia took just 36 days to notch over 100,000 infections, compared to 334 days to record the first 100,000 coronavirus cases.

This is the first time Malaysia recorded more than 5,000 daily Covid-19 cases, happening more than two weeks after the Movement Control Order (MCO) was imposed on January 13. Today’s 5,725 daily tally includes seven imported infections.

The Ministry of Health (MOH) reported 100,318 total Covid-19 cases last December 24, 334 days since the virus first hit the country on January 25.

In other words, the country took 11 months to reach the first 100,000 Covid-19 cases, but only about five weeks to register the second 100,000 infections. 

Malaysia has been reporting a daily average of above 2,000 Covid-19 cases for the past four weeks, with a daily average of above 3,500 cases in the last two weeks.

Other states like Sabah (288 cases), Sarawak (179 cases), Terengganu (137 cases), Kedah (125 cases), Penang (99 cases), Kelantan (93 cases), Melaka (74 cases), Perak (73 cases), Negeri Sembilan (69 cases), Pahang (67 cases), Putrajaya (16 cases), Labuan (five cases), and Perlis (three cases) too recorded new Covid-19 infections today. 

Malaysia has been conducting a daily average of 60,290 Covid-19 tests from January 13 to 26. The daily average tests were at 28,468 in the fortnight prior (December 30 to January 12).

According to Our World in Data, Malaysia’s Covid-19 test positive rate (the share of tests that are positive) was at 5.9 per cent on January 26, based on a rolling seven-day average.

Although Malaysia’s seven-day rolling average for the positive rate has declined from 8.2 per cent on January 12, it is still being maintained above five per cent. The rate was declining continuously until January 21 (5.6 per cent), before increasing on January 22 (5.7 per cent), remaining at 5.8 per cent until January 25. On January 26, the rate increased to 5.9 per cent.

Malaysia has been exceeding the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) maximum five per cent positive rate target since November 6 last year. A positive rate above five per cent shows that the country is not carrying out enough Covid-19 tests to identify mild or asymptomatic Covid-19 cases, but is only detecting people with symptoms or severe conditions.

This also implies there could be possible Covid-19 cases with no or mild symptoms out there without getting tested, and silently spreading the disease to others in the community.

WHO recommended in May last year that the positive rate should be maximum five per cent for at least two weeks, an indicator that the epidemic is under control in a country, before governments consider reopening their countries.

Malaysia has a total of 45,478 active Covid-19 cases, including 301 cases in the intensive care unit. As of today, the country has recorded 733 deaths pertaining to the coronavirus, including 16 new fatalities. 

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