PUTRAJAYA, Sept 1 — The federal government will accelerate Covid-19 vaccination, deploy medical resources, and increase testing in Sabah, Johor, Kedah, Penang, and Kelantan to combat their surging epidemics.
Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin today said that the sense of urgency seen in the Greater Klang Valley Special Task Force (GKVSTF) that was launched in July to accelerate the Covid-19 vaccination rollout under Operation Surge Capacity in Selangor and Kuala Lumpur needed to be emulated in the five states that have among the least percentage of vaccinated adults in the country.
“These states will not only be prioritised in terms of the amount of Covid-19 vaccines they will receive, but we’ve also started to transfer some workforces and medical assets from other states that require less of them, to these states.
“This is part of a holistic effort to ensure that we can reduce the number of people in Malaysia that need to be hospitalised, have severe symptoms, and die due to the coronavirus,” Khairy told a media briefing in Putrajaya today.
Khairy said out of 15.16 million Covid-19 vaccine doses expected to be rolled out in September, more than half at 8.3 million will go to the five states: Sabah (2.9 million doses), Johor (1.9 million doses), Kedah (1.3 million doses), Kelantan (1.2 million doses), and Penang (1 million doses).
Apart from a ramped-up vaccination programme, Khairy said the surge capacity operations will also see increased Covid-19 testing and priority in these states, given their high positive rates and relatively low vaccine coverage.
“Be that as it may, it doesn’t mean that we will reduce testing in other states because most states are still recording positive rates of more than 10 per cent. We have always emphasised on testing, but we also want to do testing in a targeted manner so that we make the best yield from the resources that are available,” Khairy said.
CodeBlue previously reported that Kuala Lumpur and most states reported positive rates exceeding 10 per cent in the past week from August 22 to 28, including Sabah, Kedah, Kelantan, and Perlis with rates above 20 per cent. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends a maximum 5 per cent benchmark as an indicator of sufficient testing.
He said MOH is also working with the private sector to get companies to test their employees. “This is where if employers want to open up their businesses, they have to step forward to provide testing for their employees, especially for symptomatic, and those who are sick.”
Khairy said the Ministry of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs (KPDNHEP) will announce a price cap on self-test kits that are currently within the range of RM35 to RM40 apiece.
CodeBlue previously reported worsening outbreaks in Penang, Johor, Kedah, Sabah, Kelantan, and Perak, as these six largely unvaccinated states registered record high infections and deaths, while the Klang Valley crisis in July consumed federal attention and vaccines.
As of August 31, Perak, Johor, Kelantan, Kedah, and Sabah have the country’s lowest proportion of adults fully inoculated at below 48 per cent, compared to the national 64.2 per cent average. Slightly over half of Penang’s adult population has received double jabs.
Malaysia’s national incidence rate in the past month reached about 64 daily cases per 100,000 population, while the mortality rate was an average of about seven fatalities per million people a day. The country reported a total 632,102 Covid-19 cases and 7,634 deaths in August.
In the past month, Penang, Kedah, and Kuala Lumpur exceeded the national daily incidence rate, whereas Selangor, Kuala Lumpur, Penang, Johor, Negeri Sembilan and Melaka surpassed the national daily death toll on a per capita basis.