KUALA LUMPUR (July 13): New Covid-19 cases in Malaysia, which hit a fresh record high of 11,079 today, are expected to increase over the next two weeks as the highly infectious Delta variant has been detected in almost every State, said Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah.
The variant, which originated from India, can spread faster via airborne transmission and has an infectivity rate of 5 to 8 in R0 value.
"In contrast, the Wuhan variant had an R0 value of 2.2 to 3. This means if the Delta variant infects 100 people, (these 100 people) could spread to 800 more people in a very short period of time," Dr Noor Hisham told a virtual press briefing.
The basic reproduction number (R-naught or R0) projects the average number of people whom each new Covid-19 patient will infect. Rt means the effective reproduction number. An Rt of less than 1.0 means the infection is not spreading.
Dr Noor Hisham said Selangor, the most populous State, saw its daily figure jump to a record 5,263 (47.5% of the nation’s total) today, after reporting over 4,000 cases daily in the previous five days.
Kuala Lumpur posted the second highest number of new infections at 1,521, followed by Negeri Sembilan (1,033), Kedah (497) and Sarawak (472).
“This has been a week and we anticipate that it will go up for a week or two, before cases will stabilise.
“With our lockdown measures, we saw our cases go down from 9,000 to around 4,000, but suddenly it has gone up again,” said the director-general.
He noted that Selangor, Kuala Lumpur and Negeri Sembilan, which have areas placed under the Enhanced Movement Control Order (EMCO), contributed 7,817 cases or 70% of today’s cases.
The jump in new cases has come after the Health Ministry ramped up screening and close contact tracing in areas under EMCO.
“We will increase the targeted screening in EMCO areas. Yesterday, 52,115 RTK-AG tests were conducted, involving workplaces and communities,” said Dr Noor Hisham.