Pahang, Penang Exceed Covid-19 Case Thresholds For Phase Two Recovery

By Alifah Zainuddin |

Pahang and Penang transitioned to Phase Two of the NRP early July, but their seven-day average daily case incidence rate now surpasses 12.2 cases per 100,000 population.

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KUALA LUMPUR, July 16 — Pahang and Penang have exceeded the daily Covid-19 incidence rate threshold for Phase Two of the National Recovery Plan (NRP), after transitioning to that phase early this month.

Data compiled by CodeBlue show that Pahang’s daily new cases in the past week as of July 15, based on a seven-day average, stood at 288.29 infections, higher than its Phase Two threshold of 206 cases, while its seven-day average of daily case incidence reached 17.14 cases per 100,000 population. 

The NRP Phase Two threshold for seven-day daily case incidence rate per 100,000 population is set at between 6.1 and 12.2 cases per 100,000 population.

Penang’s average daily cases in the past week as of July 15 reached 249.86 cases a day, higher than its Phase Two threshold of 217 cases, while the northern state’s seven-day average of daily case incidence is at 14.01 cases per 100,000 population.

Pahang was among the first five states to transition to Phase Two on July 5 after meeting several thresholds set by the federal administration. Penang became the sixth state to transition to Phase Two on July 7, allowing more businesses including stationery shops, carwash services and hair salons to operate. Non-contact individual recreation activities can also resume.

Johor, which has yet to be included on the Phase Two list, managed to reduce its average daily coronavirus cases to 416.29 infections a day in the past week as of July 15, lower than the Phase Two threshold for the southern state at 463 average daily cases.

Johor’s seven-day average daily incidence rate in the past week was 11.02 cases per 100,000. population.

Last week, Johor Menteri Besar Hasni Mohammad said he expects the state to move into Phase Two this week with the addition of 300,000 doses of vaccine supply this month. As of July 14, a total of 15.9 per cent of Johor’s 3.7 million population has received at least one Covid-19 vaccine dose, while 9.5 per cent have been fully vaccinated.

Malaysia’s four-phase Covid-19 exit plan announced by Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin last month relies on three key indicators: number of average daily cases based on a seven-day average, vaccination rate, and intensive care unit (ICU) bed occupancy rate. 

Besides a seven-day average of case incidence rates at between 6.1 and 12.2 cases per 100,000 population, Phase Two also sets 10 per cent to 40 per cent complete vaccination of the adult population and “moderate” ICU bed usage. 

All states in the country have exceeded the 10 per cent vaccination target, including Labuan with 52 per cent of its adult population fully inoculated, passing the Phase Three threshold.

What was initially set as a nationwide threshold has since shifted to individual ceilings for each state based on their population, as Selangor and Kuala Lumpur continued to contribute the largest share of daily cases.

Yesterday, Health Minister Dr Adham Baba said states which are seeing increases in daily Covid-19 cases again will not be required to revert to Phase One.

“For states that passed the Phase Two indicators, we ask that they continue with their public health interventions in order to maintain Phase 2,” Dr Adham said in a media briefing.

“Since their vaccination rates have passed 10 per cent, they will try to achieve 40 per cent and then they can move on to Phase 3,” he said.

Finance Minister Tengku Zafrul Abdul Aziz, who is also NRP coordinating minister, previously said that Phase Two states will not revert to Phase One as it is not sustainable to “open and close” a state.

A total of eight states have so far transitioned to Phase Two of the NRP: Kelantan, Terengganu, Pahang, Perlis, Perak, Penang, Sabah and Sarawak.

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