KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 23 – Melaka did not report any sharp rise in Covid-19 cases after its 15th state election on November 20, despite increased infectivity in Malaysia, Khairy Jamaluddin said.
The health minister said the implementation of strict standard operating procedures (SOP) and increased genomic surveillance to detect and prevent the transmission of variants of concern helped to control Covid-19 cases in Melaka during the state election.
“This action has shown a positive result in that there is no surge in Covid-19 cases following the Melaka state election and we hope the same for the Sarawak state election,” Khairy said in a parliamentary reply to Senator Lim Hui Ying on December 14.
According to the CovidNow site, daily Covid-19 cases in Melaka have been plateauing at about 200 or below that number after November 20.
As of November 10, a total of 3,069 samples have been analysed by the genomic sequencing consortium, increasing the number of genomes from Malaysia shared with GISAID to 4,795, said Khairy.
GISAID is an open database used globally to share data on genomic sequences of the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes Covid-19.
Results of the genomic sequencing analysis of 3,069 samples showed that 95.4 per cent or 2,928 samples were identified as Delta variants. Of these, two samples were identified as Delta sublineage variant AY.4.2, also known as Delta Plus.
“The selected samples were collected from all states including Sabah, Sarawak and Labuan. The consortium will continue to monitor the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus variant in Malaysia,” Khairy said on December 14.
Lim had asked about the Ministry of Health’s (MOH) readiness to face a sharp increase in Covid-19 cases, especially during the Melaka and Sarawak state elections as well as the discovery of the ‘Delta Plus’ variant and the increase in the “R-naught” (Rt), or infectivity rate, in Malaysia.
“MOH is constantly upgrading its preparedness to face a sharp rise in Covid-19 cases by ensuring the capacity of health nationwide through the ministry’s pandemic preparedness plan,” Khairy added.
That include several aspects like:
- Adequacy of access
- Sustainability of treatment
- Pre-hospital and emergency management
- Prevention of Covid-19 nosocomial infections (infections within the hospital)
“As of December 1, a total of 125 MOH hospitals are dedicated to treat Covid-19, namely 12 full Covid-19 hospitals and 113 hybrid hospitals with a bed capacity of 13,647 non-ICU beds with a utilisation rate of 37 per cent and 1,115 ICU beds with a utilization rate of 45 per cent.”
“Meanwhile, there are 87 Covid-19 quarantine and treatment centres (PKRC) throughout Malaysia with a bed capacity of 21,586 with a utilisation rate of 29 per cent.”
In order to deal with any possible surge in cases in the future, MOH has also set up a National Rapid Response Task Force that will be deployed to states facing a surge in Covid-19 cases.
This special task force will conduct risk assessments and recommend appropriate strategies such as hospital capacity expansion, mobilisation of health personnel resources, and appropriate public health actions in the affected states or areas.
“Through this method, faster and more efficient preparation can be provided in the areas that have been identified and subsequently the case of Covid-19 can be controlled from rising further.”
According to MOH, vaccinating at least 80 per cent of the total population in Malaysia is one of the government’s initiatives in tackling Covid-19 pandemic.
As of yesterday, 78.3 per cent of the Malaysian population have been fully inoculated against the coronavirus.
“In addition to the administration of two doses of vaccine, the administration of booster doses has also been initiated in Malaysia and priority is given to high -risk groups such as the elderly, frontliners and those with comorbidities.”