Covid-19: Malaysia's infectivity rate surges to critical level

PUTRAJAYA: The Covid-19 infectivity rate or R-naught (R0) in Malaysia, which currently stands at 1.72, has exceeded the critical mark of 1.6, said Health Ministry director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah.

He said this marks a massive change from two weeks ago, when the RO stood at 0.72.

Dr Noor Hisham said the significant RO increase is reflective of the increase in the number of local transmissions compared to two weeks ago.

He said based on the ministry's assessment, there is an increase in community transmission in Malaysia, but the jump is likely due to non-compliance with standard operating procedures (SOPs) in place to stem the outbreak.

Dr Noor Hisham said non-compliance involves not just the general public, but also frontliners, including healthcare workers.

"Frontliners have a higher risk of being infected by Covid-19 or other infectious diseases while they are at health facilities, be it at government or private facilities.

"Therefore, a 100 per cent adherence to SOPs and management guidelines is of vital importance. Failure to do so will result in the further spread of Covid-19," he told a press conference here, today.

He cited the Sungai Cluster as an example, in which a medical staff member had infected seven family members.

He urged all frontliners and the general public to regard the case as a lesson on the importance of taking precautions to protect themselves and their families at all times.

Dr Noor Hisham also gave his assurance that the Benteng LD cluster, the largest active cluster in the country currently, is under control.

"The cases were detected at the Lahad Datu district police headquarters and the Tawau lockup, where illegal immigrants rounded-up in Ops Benteng were held.

"The cases happened in these two lockups and not in the community. The situation is under control, just like how we once recorded 277 cases at Immigration detention centres," he said.

At present, 431 people have been screened in Lahad Datu, with 87 testing positive, 132 testing negative, and the remaining 212 still awaiting results.

In Tawau, 1,579 people have been screened, with 41 testing positive, 425 testing negative, and the remaining 1,113 still awaiting results.

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