PUTRAJAYA (REUTERS, THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) – Malaysia on Wednesday (May 26) reported 7,478 new coronavirus cases, its highest daily rise in infections since the start of the pandemic.
With Malaysia once again registering a new record for daily Covid-19 cases, the highest one so far, health director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah warns that the next two weeks are critical as the worst may still come.
He said the Malaysian public must prepare for the worst following a continuous surge in new cases.
“The rise in cases started on April 1 and could trigger a vertical surge. We need to prepare for the worst. Please help us by staying at home. Only together we can break the chain of infection,” he said in a Twitter post yesterday.
Dr Noor Hisham advised the public to stay at home and comply strictly with the standard operating procedure in case of an emergency or attendance at work.
The Health Ministry has discovered 12 new cases of the South African B1351 variant in Kedah, Perlis, Selangor and Johor.
It has also detected a new case involving the Indian B1617 variant in Labuan.
“The third movement control order has been implemented taking into consideration the global pandemic situation and the emergence of variants of concern in the community.
“As we know, these variants have higher infectivity and have caused more deaths.
“Therefore, people are advised to practise ‘self-lockdown’ and stay at home for the next two weeks as much as possible.
“We need to do this to break the chain of Covid-19 infections in Malaysia,” said Dr Noor Hisham.
As numbers pile up with no signs of slowing down, experts say the nationwide vaccination drive must be accelerated immediately.
Malaysian Medical Association president Dr M. Subramaniam said private healthcare facilities must be roped in to speed things up by allowing them to procure vaccines.
“The government must allow the private sector to buy vaccines like what Selangor is doing, whereby bosses can buy vaccines for their staff. This is a very good initiative.
“The private sector must be allowed to do more. Otherwise, at the rate that we are going, we will never reach the target of vaccinating at least 80 per cent of the population,” he said.
Malaysian Association of Public Health Physicians president Dr Zainal Ariffin Omar said the 7,289 new cases reported on Tuesday did not reflect the true number of infections in the community, which in reality could be much more.
“This is because people who are asymptomatic don’t usually go for testing.
“The best thing for the rakyat to do now is to forget about everything and just do a self-lockdown,” he said.
Dr Zainal added that the strategy to delay the second dose of Covid-19 vaccines, like in the United Kingdom and Singapore, had managed to bring down the number of new cases.
Meanwhile, when contacted, Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Adham Baba said: “The government is serious about ramping up its vaccination drive to fight Covid-19.”
This includes taking efforts such as enlisting 12 private hospitals as Covid-19 vaccine dispensing centres (PPVs) starting yesterday, as well as using the opt-in only AstraZeneca programme to inoculate more people.
On Monday, Dr Adham said Malaysia had inoculated 95,009 people, the highest daily number so far, which brought the total number of doses dispensed to 2,483,496.
To further accelerate the rate of vaccination for Malaysians in high-risk areas, the Covid-19 Immunisation Task Force has also started negotiations to use Kuala Lumpur City Hall vehicles as mobile PPVs.