Overall situation (25-31 July 2021)
In response to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Malaysian government reviewed the implemented measures, which is movement control order (MCO) based on the country’s pandemic situation from time to time. This Epid Week 30 which started from 25th to 31st July is still within the National Recovery Plan (NRP) with the objective to steer the country out of the health and economic crisis caused by the global Covid-19 pandemic. However, Covid-19 infections in Malaysia are at its peak with the highest daily average reported of 16697 new infections. The total number of active cases at the end of Epid week 30 was 189,609. This week also recorded the highest daily mortality (207 deaths on 26th and 27th July 2021) since the start of the pandemic last year.
Highlight of the week
There are a total of 1,113,272 infections and 9,024 coronavirus-related deaths in the country since the pandemic started. The daily reported cases in this Epid Week 30 continued to elevate from 14,516 to 17,786 cases. The highest and the lowest number was recorded on July, 31st and July, 26th respectively. For this Epid Week up to July, 31st 2021:
· A total of 116,879 cases were reported compared to 90,542 cases the previous week (July 18 to 24, 2021), representing a 1.29% increase in this week. Majority of the newly confirmed cases were from the community, while work-place made up the majority of the clusters.
- Over 50% of cases reported in the current week were from the central region; Selangor, Kuala Lumpur Federal Territory and Negeri Sembilan (about 58.9% with total of 68,810 confirmed cases).
- The number of reported deaths has also increased, 1,122 deaths this week compared to 1,036 deaths within the Epid Week 29 and 799 deaths in Epid Week 28. However, the case fatality rate for this Epid Week was 0.96%; slightly decreased compared to 1.14% in the previous week, in light of the growing numbers of daily new cases.
- About 10% (116) of the 1,122 deaths were brought in dead cases.
Trends in Reported Cases, Incidence, Transmissibility and Testing
The overall 7-day moving average of daily new cases for this week showed a rising trend from 17,045 cases (25th July 2021) to 17,786 cases (31st July 2021). The increment has been driven primarily by the cases from Selangor, Kuala Lumpur Federal Territory and N. Sembilan.
As of July 31, 2021, the 14-day incidence rate of Kuala Lumpur and Selangor, was above 500 per 100,000 population; while Perlis reported an incidence rate below 100 per 100,000 population and the other states were between 100 to 500 per 100,000 population.
The time-varying Reproductive number (Rt) of COVID-19 in Malaysia had increased by approximately 5% from Rt value 1.12 (24 July 2021) in previous week to Rt value of 1.17 this week.
The overall test positivity ratio (TPR) for Epi Week 30 was above 11%, twofold higher than the average COVID-19 testing positivity rate of 5% set by the World Health Organisation. A TPR of less than 5% is the benchmark for sufficient testing being conducted.
Despite the enforcement of the Full and Enhanced Movement Control Order (FMCO and EMCO) throughout Kuala Lumpur and the majority of Selangor subdistricts, and the MCO in the whole country within this National Recovery Plan (NRP), the number of new cases reported daily continued to spike. Majority of the newly cases were from the community while work place made up 80% of the clusters. The increase in number for the community spread was likely due to the results of the AidilAdha celebration despite the interstate travel ban nationwide. The ‘lunch-break time’ where the workers eating together in the pantries without complying to social distancing maybe another reason for the high work place transmissions. This is a very clear indicator that regardless of the SOP’s, public health measures and preventive actions implemented by the authorities, won’t really break the chain of Covid-19 transmission unless all individuals adhere to it.
The screening and vaccination programs should be made more available, accessible and affordable to all. The initiative on the walk in Covid-19 vaccination for those who have not received an appointment in their MySejahtera starting from 2 August 2021, is a good move to achieved high vaccination rate. Nevertheless, enforcement of SOPs need to be established to avoid mass assembly at the vaccination centres which may create new clusters.
For the NRP to succeed in helping Malaysia out of the Covid-19 crisis, all parties need to support it as it is a whole nation approach rather than a whole institution or organization one. The phrase “KITA JAGA KITA” need to be well implemented as anyone or everyone may be exposed to the virus. Stay at home, go out only for essentials and wear face mask when in public and avoid crowded and enclosed areas. These non-pharmacological measures are the major circuit breaker for the Covid-19 infection.
This report was prepared by Shaznida binti Ghulam, a DrPH candidate at Universiti Malaya, and revised by Prof. Dr Moy Foong Ming, Professor of Epidemiology, Department of Social and Preventive Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of Malaya.
The report is based on the information from Covid-19 Epidemiology for Malaysia dashboard and the Ministry of Health Malaysia daily updates.