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Author: savemalaysia   |   Latest post: Mon, 30 Nov 2020, 6:15 PM

 

10,000 active cases by Nov 4, say academics

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KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia is entering a critical window in "pandemic containment" as experts believe active Covid-19 cases can cross the 10,000 mark by Nov 4 and peak at a maximum of 14,000 to 15,000 cases.

Medical lecturer Dr Safiya Amaran, a Universiti Zainal Abidin public health expert, said the situation with new Covid-19 cases could be the final straw with Selangor, being the most densely-populated state in Malaysia, following the trend in Sabah.

Dr Safiya said a collective of academics that had collaborated on the Covid-19 Malaysia and Prediction info site and Universiti Teknologi Malaysia's modelling expert Professor Dr Shuhaimi Mansor found that the cases would breach the 10,000 mark by Nov 4.

"If you look at the March to May wave, this is now more than three times bigger. The best-case scenario is indicated (purple line in the graph) when there is full compliance with standard operating procedures (SOP), which I think is hopeful. 

"The cases peak around then and drops over the following week until Dec 23, where it will plateau. The more likely scenario (represented by the blue line) is when we peak on Nov 4 and remain the same for a few weeks, and gradually dropping and getting into a plateau after March. This is not even the worst-case scenario," she told New Straits Times yesterday.

Dr Safiya, who is part of the collective, regarded Selangor as ground zero as there was a troubling trend of sporadic transmissions of the Covid-19 virus, with index cases having no traceable contacts to other cases.

"This is similar to Sabah's trajectory, where at one point, 90 per cent of its active cases were community transmissions."

"In Selangor, the situation is made worse, considering the state's population density and the scale of economic activity and movement in and around it."

 

Food baskets being distributed to people in   Saguking Laut and Sebor Baru,  Labuan, yesterday. -BERNAMA pic
Food baskets being distributed to people in Saguking Laut and Sebor Baru, Labuan, yesterday. -BERNAMA pic

 

Based on the National Security Council's data, she said, 35 per cent of Selangor's clusters were caused by contacts at work.

She said the best way to break the chain of infection was to stay at home and maintain social distancing.

"In a social setting, we have to keep it to six people or fewer, with two and three people being the ideal number, especially for people in the Klang Valley."

She said the upcoming Dewan Rakyat sitting was a potential time bomb for virus infection.

She urged members of parliament (MPs) to restrict their movements after undertaking their second swab test, which should be taken two to three days before the sitting on Nov 4.

"I cannot stress this enough, they should go virtual or put in place other SOP like meeting in different rooms within the Dewan by videoconferencing."

"MPs should reduce the numbers in their entourage. They should instead drive to Parliament themselves, while limiting the number of officers in attendance. If ministers or MPs have meetings to attend during the period, they should do so via teleconferencing. They should return home after a session, with no stopping in between."

 

Dr Safiya Amaran
Dr Safiya Amaran

 

She said the two-week Conditional Movement Control Order (CMCO) was necessary as the number of cases recorded at the end of this initial phase would give medical experts an idea whether an extension with more restrictions was required later.

"These two weeks are the most crucial. If the number of cases peak and then consistently drops, then we are out of the woods. The number of new cases, clusters and other sporadic ones will be our indicators to determine our future decisions. If it doesn't drop, we will have to extend it, and possibly, re-impose the MCO."

She said the worst-case scenario based on the modelling would see the situation in Sabah replicated in the peninsula, with the number of active cases exceeding the number of those discharged, which would cripple the healthcare system.

She said the Czech Republic had enjoyed an initial victory in its combat against the pandemic, before facing a surge, with more than 11,000 new cases recorded in a single day last week.

Dr Malina Osman, an epidemiologist and biostatistician, said active cases would peak in early to mid-November, with a maximum of 14,000 to 15,000 cases being recorded then.

"Based on the trend, active cases will breach 8,000 soon.

"If this continues, an estimated 10,000 active cases are expected by the end of this month.

"If the SOP is complied with and all precautionary measures implemented, we can see a downward curve soon. But the situation in Sabah is unpredictable. It is more realistic to have the estimated maximum active cases to rise between 14,000 and 15,000 by mid-November.

"My prediction lies somewhere between two likely scenarios (the purple and blue lines). I'm hoping that a vaccine arrives soon. That could have a stabilising effect in mitigating the number of new cases next year."

She said that while the goverment had banned interstate and interdistrict travel in red zones, it must also ban social gatherings in green zones.

"That's why we need to conduct the Dewan Rakyat sitting virtually." 

 

https://www.nst.com.my/news/nation/2020/10/634569/10000-active-cases-nov-4-say-academics

 

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