A day before ‘total lockdown’ due to expire, Malaysia’s Covid-19 infections projected to stay above 4,000

KUALA LUMPUR, June 27 — The effective reproduction number (Rt) of Covid-19 infections has fallen to 0.97, indicating the pandemic was being suppressed but at a rate that would not allow the country to begin the next recovery phase after tomorrow as planned.

According to projections Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah shared online last night, Malaysia’s daily Covid-19 cases based on a Rt of 0.95 would still be above 4,000 by the end of the month and likely into the first week of July.

The country is now in the fourth week of what had been meant to be a two-week “total lockdown” period, which is scheduled to end after tomorrow.

However, the government’s National Recovery Plan (NRP) has set a benchmark of 4,000 cases daily and under for when Malaysia may move into the second phase.

The other benchmarks were for demand on intensive care capacity at hospitals to ease to a “moderate” level and for at least 10 per cent of the country to be vaccinated; the last metric has been met as Malaysia has vaccinated over 15 per cent of its population.

Should the government see fit to still move the country into the second phase of the NRP, Malaysia would return to the so-called movement control order (MCO 3.0) in which more economic sectors would be allowed to reopen but social activities would remain prohibited.

It is unclear when the government will make an announcement on whether the “total lockdown” would be extended or that the next phase of the NRP would begin.

Since the NRP was announced, Malaysia has only seen three days when cases dipped below 5,000: on June 14 when 4,949 cases were reported, on June 21 with 4,611 and on June 22 with 4,743.

Yesterday, Dr Noor Hisham reported another 5,803 new Covid-19 infections in the country for a total of 60,646 active cases.

Of current patients, 866 required intensive care and 435 were intubated. MALAY MAIL

by Justin Ong

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