KUALA LUMPUR, April 5 — The Ministry of Health (MOH) is prepared for any potential spike in Covid-19 cases nationwide, amid an increase in daily infections in several states over the past few days, Dr Adham Baba said today.
The health minister, in his weekly joint press conference with Vaccine Minister Khairy Jamaluddin on the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme (PICK), said that whether or not Malaysia sees a fourth wave of the Covid-19 epidemic will depend on the opening of borders, adherence to standard operating procedures (SOPs), the national vaccine plan, and prevention of outbreaks.
As of April 4, the nationwide Rt level is 1.01, while states like Labuan have an Rt level of 1.59, Putrajaya (1.54), Perak (1.25), Pahang (1.19), Sarawak (1.05), Kelantan (1.04), Melaka (1.02), and Sabah (1.02).
The Rt value is the effective reproduction number of Covid-19 cases. An Rt value above 1.0 means that the virus is spreading fast, or that the epidemic is growing. Interstate travel is still banned in the country, unless one uses a travel bubble system through tour agencies.
The health minister also observed 20 new Covid-19 clusters in the education sector in March and April so far.
“MOH is always ready for any possible escalation of Covid-19 cases. We will continue to monitor and strengthen existing activities at all levels,” Dr Adham said.
The health minister, in a separate response to CodeBlue, explained that in terms of Covid-19 surveillance for early detection of cases, MOH continues to monitor patients who have influenza-like illness (ILI), severe acute respiratory illness (SARI), and conducts pre-hospital admission screening to trace community infections.
Besides that, MOH screens workers in the manufacturing and construction sectors, high-risk groups that are vulnerable to severe disease from Covid-19, and international returnees. Symptomatic Covid-19 patients with signs of severe infection are hospitalised, while asymptomatic cases and those with mild symptoms continue to be monitored in home quarantine.
Dr Adham said MOH continues to order quarantine for close contacts of positive cases and international travellers entering Malaysia.
Besides that, Dr Adham said there are 63 hospitals, including three university hospitals, allocated to treat Covid-19 patients throughout the country.
“The total beds allocated for Covid-19 is 6,755 beds and the usage rate is 37 per cent. For intensive care units (ICU), throughout the country, there are 1,146 beds for both Covid-19 and non-Covid-19 patients and the usage rate from the total is 58 per cent,” Dr Adham said.
“From that total, 543 ICU beds have been allocated for Covid-19 patients and the usage rate is 38 per cent.”
The health minister said that MOH is also ensuring the availability of enough Covid-19 vaccines for the national Covid-19 immunisation programme.
On the issue of whether completely vaccinated individuals are allowed for inter-state travel, Dr Adham said that the government is still reviewing evidence on immunity levels of fully vaccinated individuals from the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).