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Malaysia's health chief says daily Covid-19 cases will drop in coming weeks

KUALA LUMPUR (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK)- Malaysia’s daily Covid-19 cases are expected to stabilise and decrease in the coming weeks as movement controls are better enforced and vaccinations ramp up, said health chief Noor Hisham Abdullah.

Daily cases have averaged nearly 7,800 over the past week, posting a record high of 9,353 cases on Saturday (July 10). The number of new cases eased slightly on Sunday to 9,105.

He said the spike in new cases over the last few days was due to more targeted screenings being implemented, especially in the commercial hubs of Selangor and Kuala Lumpur, which are currently under the enhanced movement control order.

“The Ministry of Health had expected that with the lockdown in the Klang Valley areas, the daily cases will increase due to the implementation of targeted and community screenings,” said Tan Sri Noor Hisham on Saturday night in a programme on Bernama TV, the national news agency.

“However, I am confident that with better movement control methods, we will see a more stable total number of cases as well as a drop within a week or two. At the same time, the vaccination process must be expedited,” he said.

The country has been administering over 300,000 vaccine jabs daily since July 5. Over 22 per cent of those eligible have received at least one dose while 9.75 per cent have been fully inoculated as at July 8.

Dr Noor Hisham said based on experience and lessons learned from previous waves of infections, the country needs to be more cautious and not rush to open economic sectors that could trigger a fresh surge in cases.

Compliance and enforcement of health protocols needed to be enhanced, he said, especially to curb workplace transmissions such as those occurring in the manufacturing sector.

Meanwhile the health ministry was doing its best to increase capacity at hospitals, several of which were reported to be overrun with Covid-19 patients.

He said that the focus was on accommodating seriously ill patients in intensive care units (ICUs), referred to as category 4 and 5 patients.

“The problem we face is that the category 4 and category 5 patients take a long time to be treated in the ICU, between two to five weeks, including requiring ventilators.

“These are the constraints we face because the number of patients in category 4 and category 5 is also increasing,” he said.

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