KUALA LUMPUR (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) – There’s an imminent possibility of a fourth wave of Covid-19 infections hitting Malaysia if we relax adhering to the SOP (Standard Operating Procedure).
In the last few days, the number of cases in the country has spiked, with more than 2,000 cases on two days this past week. It is the first time the figure topped 2,000 since March 5.
Senior Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob and Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Adham Baba have cautioned that there is a probability of a resurgence of infections.
Dr Adham said his ministry had recommended that interstate travel to balik kampung when Muslims celebrate Hari Raya next month be postponed.
Health experts have warned that allowing interstate travel could very well lead to a fourth wave.
Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Khairy Jamaluddin, who is also the coordinating minister for the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme, has warned that there is a real possibility of Malaysia being hit by a fourth wave.
Mr Khairy said the National Security Council needed to review its decision to relax Covid-19 mitigation steps, such as allowing Ramadan bazaars to operate this month.
But a fourth wave need not be inevitable.
Just as we fought the first, second and third wave of Covid-19, we just have to stand together to prevent a new wave.
The advice is simple: maintain the Covid-19 SOP.
Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah pointed out that infectivity rates would reduce from an Rt of 1.2 to 0.8 if there were compliance with the SOP, causing daily infected cases to fall below 1,000 by the end of May.
However, a ministry forecast shows that if there is non-compliance with the SOP, the infectivity rate would increase from an Rt of 0.8 to 1.2, and cases would rise to more than 2,000 per day by mid-May.
(An Rt value indicates how fast a disease spreads. An Rt value of below 1 is considered safe while a value above 2 indicates that the infectivity rate is doubling.)
So remember these measures under the SOP: Avoid the 3Cs (crowded places, confined spaces and close conversation) and practise the 3Ws (wash hands frequently with soap, wear a mask in public, and heed Health Ministry warnings).
Together, we can prevent another spike of Covid-19 cases while we give the vaccination effort time to achieve herd immunity.
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