KUALA LUMPUR, April 22 — Daily new confirmed Covid-19 cases per population in Malaysia have exceeded the United Kingdom’s since April 9, as Malaysia battles a fresh surge of infections.
According to Our World In Data, Malaysia recorded 66.03 new Covid-19 cases per million people on April 19, almost double the UK’s 37.5 cases, based on a rolling seven-day average. Three weeks ago on April 9, Malaysia reported 42.53 new coronavirus infections per million people, exceeding the UK’s 25.67 cases.
Malaysia’s coronavirus epidemic curve began rising since April 1, after a decline of about two months from a peak of 146.87 new Covid-19 cases per million people on February 4, based on a rolling seven-day average. The UK, on the other hand, saw a rapid drop in daily new infections over the past three-and-a-half months from a height of 881.31 cases per million people on January 9, as its case trend continues to fall.
Malaysia recorded 37.56 new Covid-19 cases per million people on April 1, which means that daily new infections increased by 75.8 per cent in less than three weeks to 66.03 new cases per capita on April 19, based on a rolling seven-day average.
The UK — whose 67.1-million population is double Malaysia’s 32.7-million population — reported 2,524 new Covid-19 cases yesterday, slightly higher than Malaysia’s 2,340 fresh infections.
The UK performed nearly nine times more daily Covid-19 tests per capita at 13.81 tests per 1,000 people on April 14, compared to Malaysia’s 1.56 people tested per 1,000 population, based on a rolling seven-day average. Based on the Ministry of Health’s (MOH) data, Malaysia ran 59,846 daily tests on April 16, comprising 35,061 RT-PCR and 24,785 RTK-Ag tests, with both types of tests exceeding 50,000 a day since April 13.
MOH previously announced last January that it planned to increase Covid-19 testing capacity to 100,000 in the near future.
Malaysia’s positive rate (share of tests that are positive), however, remains below 5 per cent despite the rise in daily new Covid-19 cases since April 1. On April 18, Malaysia reported a 3.6 per cent positive rate, based on a rolling seven-day average, rising from 2.5 per cent on April 2, according to Our World In Data.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has stated that a positive rate of below 5 per cent is one indicator that the epidemic is under control in a country.
Some of the active Covid-19 clusters in Malaysia, however, reported extremely high positive rates. The Jalan Puncak Borneo cluster — which originated from the police training centre (Pulapol) in Kuching, Sarawak, and has spread to Samarahan and Bau — recorded an 86.5 per cent positive rate, with 482 positive cases out of 557 people screened as of yesterday.
In Sabah, the Rich Park cluster that originated from a social event in Tawau — which has spread to Kota Kinabalu, Beaufort, and Kalabakan — recorded 277 positive cases out of 571 individuals tested as of yesterday, leading to a 48.5 per cent positive rate.
The Kampung Domis cluster involving an educational centre in Tanah Merah, Kelantan — which has spread to Kuala Krai, Machang, Pasir Mas, and Tumpat — had 186 positive cases out of 530 people screened as of yesterday, yielding a 35.1 per cent positive rate.
Sarawak broke three daily Covid-19 case records in eight days from April 9, notching a record high 960 infections on April 16, while Kelantan reported a 24-hour record high of 429 infections on April 20, followed by 370 new cases yesterday. Sabah, which was the epicentre of the third wave late last year, reported 172 fresh coronavirus infections yesterday.
On daily new Covid-19 deaths per capita, the UK’s trajectory fell dramatically from a peak of 18.46 fatalities per million people last January 23 to 0.40 deaths per million people on April 20, nearly matching Malaysia’s 0.19 fatalities, based on a rolling seven-day average.
Malaysia’s daily new coronavirus-related fatalities nearly doubled from 0.10 deaths per million people on March 21 to 0.19 on April 20.
Nearly half, or 48.66 per cent of the UK’s population, have received at least one dose of the Covid-19 vaccine as of April 19, compared to 2.24 per cent of the Malaysian population. As of April 20, fewer than 800,000 individuals in Malaysia have received at least one of the coronavirus vaccine, including 462,335 who completed vaccination.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson reportedly said last April 13 that the UK’s rapid fall in Covid-19 deaths was mostly due to a three-month lockdown, not the inoculation programme.
BBC reported Monday that fewer than 2,000 Covid-19 patients are currently hospitalised in the UK, the first time since last September. Johnson, however, noted warnings from scientists that another wave of the Covid-19 epidemic would hit the UK this year.