Wednesday, May 19, 2021

Malaysia Smashes Covid Record

Malaysia sees a record 6,075 new Covid-19 infections in 24 hours, the highest ever since the pandemic began. And I'm sure the record won't stand for long.

Under the threat of a full lockdown, the Selangor state government maintain today that the Covid-19 situation in the state remains under control. 

Using MOH data, the Covid state task force chairperson Dzulkefly Ahmad (right) clarified that the infectivity rate in Selangor is not as high as in other states. The state’s rate stands at 1.14. In comparison, Pahang is 1.62, Kedah is 1.24, Perak is 1.22, Terengganu is 1.2, while Putrajaya and Negri Sembilan stand at 1.16 respectively. 

He added that the number of persons in households in the state is 1.9 million, and Selangor has 3.59 million labor force, and 3.4 million workers here, include people from other states who live here for work. 

It is pertinent to note that Selangor is the most populous state (5.46 million) as well as the state with the largest economy in terms of gross domestic product. In fact, according to, as of the first quarter of 2020, the population of Selangor stood at about 6.57 million. 

Dzulkefly also shed light on another equally important point – and which I didn’t know as well. 

“The reason why Selangor seems to have high numbers of Covid-19 infections is also a matter of the Health Ministry’s testing policy. For example the RTK tests conducted must also be confirmed by PCR tests. This results in delayed testing, as for a PCR confirmation an appointment is needed at health clinics, as well as a delay when it comes to doing contact tracing. On average, to get a PCR appointment in the event of a positive RTK test takes three to five days”. 

Similarly close contacts must wait an average of six to seven days for an appointment, with him adding that in certain instances it can take as long as 10 to 20 days. 

“This is when clusters can emerge and spread to the community, since the individuals in question are still able to go out and about. Over time, these close contacts form a backlog in the community, which triggers the worrying signs of an infection reservoir, commonly referred to as community spreads”, Dzulkefly said. 

Given the above explanations, I tend to agree with him. This is the sort of information that the Health Director-General (right) should share with the public – and not just dishing out a daily diet of figures that lack not just details but also contextualization. Not only that but MOH need to have a better grip of the test-and-trace process and make it work correctly. 

[Note: Dzulkefly was the Minister of Health under the previous PH government]. 

Obviously, the present government have failed to properly manage the pandemic and must take responsibility for the growing Covid cases and deaths in the country.


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