The overall situation
The first phase of total lockdown was planned from 1 June until 14 June as a measure to flatten the COVID-19 curve. This followed a steep rise in the daily number of cases in the previous weeks that culminated in the highest recorded number of new cases per day last week since this pandemic started last year. The current total lockdown involved the temporary closure of many of the economic activities, letting only essential sectors to continue. In addition, all social activities were not allowed, and higher intensity movement restrictions have been implemented to reduce the numbers of cases.
New this week
The COVID-19 daily reported cases started to plateau in week 22 with a 7-day moving average of 7,653 cases on 29 May 2021 and 7,434 cases on 5 June 2021.
Trends in reported cases, and hospitalization
All states except for Sabah and Perlis had reported a 14-day cumulative incidence exceeding 100 cases per 100,000 population. An alarming rise of cumulative incidence occurred in WP Labuan that exceeded 1000 cases per 100,000 population; however, WP Labuan is a very small Federal Territory. Apart from that, Negri Sembilan, Selangor, and W.P. Kuala Lumpur had exceeded 500 cases per 100,000 population per state.
The recent surge of cases nationwide had increased the burden to the healthcare system that was reflected by the increased utilisation of general and Intensive Care Unit (ICU) beds and the usage of ventilators. The higher healthcare utilization may directly affect the healthcare workers and patients’ welfare (Jones, 2011; Keegan, 2010). Previous total lockdowns have been proven to reduce bed occupying rates thus preventing the collapse and the current overload status in health care services (Lino, Barreto, Souza, Lima, & Junior, 2020).
Overall transmissibility of COVID-19 in Malaysia had reduced by approximately 21% to an Rt of 0.98, in week 22; below the epidemic threshold of 1.0. The three states with the highest transmissibility were recorded in WP Labuan (Rt of 1.3), Negeri Sembilan (Rt of 1.17), and Perak (Rt of 1.08). Other states that recorded an Rt above the epidemic threshold of 1.0 are W.P. Kuala Lumpur, Selangor and Sabah. Nevertheless, a reducing trend of Rt was noted in the majority of the states as compared to the previous epidemiologic week.
All states have shown a drastic reduction in mobilization entering week 22. This sudden drop of overall mobilization came after the sudden spike of new COVID-19 cases in the middle of week 21 which marked the highest number of new COVID-19 cases recorded in Malaysia since the beginning of this pandemic.
The total lockdown currently being implemented nationwide is expected to reduce the number of new cases and the burden on the health care system in the coming week. The increasing effort to boost the COVID-19 vaccination capacity nationwide by the COVID-19 Immunisation Task Force (CITF) in the upcoming week is among the most effective effort to combat this pandemic in the long term; in addition to the practice of good hygiene, social distancing and compliance with the SOP.
Prepared by Dr Mohd Taufiq Bin Abdul Ghani, DrPH candidate from Universiti Malaya, and revised by Prof Dr Sanjay Rampal, PhD.
The report is based on the information obtained from the COVID-19 Epidemiology for Malaysia dashboard.”
- Jones, R. (2011). Hospital bed occupancy demystified. British Journal of Healthcare Management, 17(6), 242-248.
- Keegan, A. D. (2010). Hospital bed occupancy: more than queuing for a bed. Medical Journal of Australia, 193(5), 291-293.
- Lino, D. O. d. C., Barreto, R., Souza, F. D. d., Lima, C. J. M. d., & Junior, G. B. d. S. (2020). Impact of lockdown on bed occupancy rate in a referral hospital during the COVID-19 pandemic in northeast Brazil. Brazilian Journal of Infectious Diseases, 24(5), 466-469.