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There is hope that the arrival of spring in the northern hemisphere will bring about the end of the Covid-19 outbreak, said Deputy Health Minister Dr Lee Boon Chye (2nd from right). - STR/BALQIS JAZIMAH ZAHARI

IPOH: There is hope that the arrival of spring in the northern hemisphere will bring about the end of the Covid-19 outbreak, said Deputy Health Minister Dr Lee Boon Chye.

He said looking back, influenza and other coronavirus flu epidemics, including SARS, were at their height during winter, which indicates that they thrive in cold temperature.

Spring in the northern hemisphere officially begins on March 1.

"We also have scientific evidence to show that heat actually kills the coronavirus.

“(This is) based on Singapore Health Ministry's chief health scientist, Professor Dr Tan Chorh Chuan, who mentioned recently that with the temperature at about 30 degrees Celsius and humidity at about 80 per cent (which is what you get when you go under the sun in Malaysia) the virus would not survive long…," he said.

Dr Lee said this in his speech when attending the Perak Computer and Digital Association (PCDA) charity event at the Ipoh Swimming Club at Jalan Raja Dr Nazrin Shah here, today.

It was reported that Dr Tan had said that the likelihood of viral persistence outdoors is lower, as most studies indicate that viruses do not persist well in hot and humid environmental conditions. This refers to a temperature of over 30 degree Celsius and a humidity level of over 80 per cent.

In the event the epidemic gets worse in the country, Dr Lee said that turning off air-conditioners might be one of the measures to be taken to control the spread of the virus.

"(If) the epidemic is out of control in the country, that is one of the ways we might consider… to switch off the air-conditioner and open the window.

"But of course, we haven't come to that stage yet. So this is some of the things that we have to consider, even though we haven't got scientific evidence.

"But based on theoretical grounds, this is a measure we should consider taking when the epidemic (worsens) in the country. But most importantly, based on this crisis, we need to stay calm and listen to news that is genuine, and facts, and look for evidence based on science, and don't react based on fear," he said.

As of this morning, Singapore has a total of 67 Covid-19 cases, while Malaysia has 21 cases.

Dr Lee added that at this moment, the risk of the virus spreading from human to human in the country is minimal, and the public should not create unnecessary fear which could lead to other problems.

"We do recognise that until we have a cure for this virus, until we had a vaccine for this virus, then efforts to contain the virus would be continuous… to make sure it doesn't spread among the community.

"We know that the virus can spread, but it is not as easy as we thought. Some of the behaviour against those who were in close contact with the virus and those coming back from China (was wrong and) actually 'un-Malaysian'.

"So we must remove this fear and as far as the ministry is concerned, we will try to allow our population to live as normally as possible, that's the main thing," he added.

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