Sarawak Reports Record High 607 Covid-19 Cases

Sarawak recorded about 22 cases per 100,000 population, the highest Covid-19 incidence rate in Malaysia, nearly three times higher than Kuala Lumpur at second highest.

KUALA LUMPUR, April 13 — Sarawak reported 607 coronavirus cases today, a 24-hour record high, and the highest Covid-19 incidence rate in Malaysia at about 22 infections per 100,000 population.

The Ministry of Health (MOH) reported 1,767 new Covid-19 cases today nationwide, bringing the cumulative cases to 363,940. Today’s 24-hour increase was the highest in four days since April 9 that reported 1,854 infections.

After Sarawak, Selangor reported 483 cases, the second highest, followed by Kuala Lumpur (133 cases), and Sabah (117 cases). 

MOH reported 12 Covid-19 deaths nationwide today, the highest in almost two months since February 25 that recorded 12 fatalities. Five victims were brought in dead, four in Sabah and one in Terengganu. MOH stopped identifying Covid-19 deaths with their infection case numbers since April 9, which means the date of admission for these cases is unknown, making it impossible to know how long they were in hospital before they died.

CodeBlue previously reported that the average number of days from hospital admission to death (excluding brought-in-dead cases) fell last January to 7.21 days from an average of 9.17 days in 2020. This could be due to lack of access to testing, leading to people entering the health care system late with poorer outcomes.

Sarawak, Selangor, and Kuala Lumpur are still under the Conditional Movement Control Order (CMCO) while Sabah is under the Recovery Movement Control Order (RMCO). 

Meanwhile, Sarawak’s Covid-19 incidence rate is the highest nationwide (21.46 per 100,000 population), which is nearly triple Kuala Lumpur’s incidence rate at 7.5 cases per 100,000 population that is second highest in the country.

Selangor, which recorded the third highest Covid-19 case incidence rate today, reported 7.35 cases per 100,000 population, followed by Putrajaya (6.43), Kelantan (5.41), and Penang (5.16).

Cases per population enables comparison across communities as it measures the number of Covid-19 cases per unit of population. 

MOH reported that almost half of Sarawak’s 607 coronavirus cases today were sporadic, while 52.6 per cent came from clusters and screening of close contacts of positive cases. Sarawak’s State Disaster Management Committee (SDMC) reported a new cluster at the Pusat Latihan Polis (Pulapol) in Kuching involving 61 cases.

The index case tested positive for Covid-19 after getting screened at a clinic on April 9 following a fever.

“The spread of infection among Pulapol trainers was due to close interactions and a lack of physical distancing among trainers gathering in groups in the platoon dormitory and company,” said SDMC.

SDMC also noted that only 41 of 607 new Covid-19 cases reported in Sarawak today showed symptoms during screening, which means that 93 per cent were asymptomatic.

Although the Ministry of Health (MOH) has not reported whether Malaysia is seeing the fourth Covid-19 wave, Health Minister Dr Adham Baba said that his ministry is prepared for any potential spike of Covid-19 cases nationwide. 

Senior Defence Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob reportedly said yesterday, citing MOH data, that Malaysia risked seeing a fourth wave of the epidemic.

Bernama reported Dr Adham as saying that the Rt (infectivity rate) level in Sarawak has increased from 1.08 yesterday to 1.1 today, as he noted an increasing trend of Covid-19 cases in Sarawak since January 9. 

An Rt value above 1.0 means that the virus is spreading quickly, or that the epidemic is growing. 

Dr Adham also said that MOH will be mobilising 500 health care workers to Sarawak from other states and from green zones within Sarawak to help with the rising number of Covid-19 cases.

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