Increase in reported Covid-19 cases due to active case finding, says health DG

Faisal Asyraf

Modified 3 Apr 2020, 3:35 pm

CORONAVIRUS | As the number of Covid-19 cases in Malaysia increase by more than 200 per day for the second consecutive day, health director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah clarified that this is not the ‘third wave’ of cases he had warned about.

Instead, he said the increase is due to health officers actively tracking down Covid-19 cases in the three areas that have been placed under an enhanced movement control order.

“For the slight increase from 208 (cases reported yesterday), normally we get about 140. This is because of the enhanced MCO.

“Once we are doing the enhanced MCO, we are screening the whole community and kampung. For example in Sungai Lui, there are five Malay villages and two Orang Asli villages. There is also a tahfiz school in that area.

“So now, because we are doing the screening, we managed to pick up 41 tahfiz students in the area as well as tahfiz students in Sri Petaling. Both were detected positive and admitted to hospital.

“That’s the reason why we are doing active case detection, meaning we trace them, we test them, we isolate, as well we treat them,” he told a daily press briefing in Putrajaya today, when asked about the cause of the increased number of cases.

Today, the health ministry announced that there are 217 new cases, bringing the total number of cases to 3,333. The highest increase recorded to date was 235 cases on March 26.

Noor Hisham said the third wave of cases due to Malaysians returning home from abroad is still to come in mid-April.

For the record, three areas are under an enhanced MCO. They are the Menara City One condominium in Kuala Lumpur, seven villages in Hulu Langat as well as two villages in Simpang Renggam, Johor.

Noor Hisham (above) also hinted that there will be no mass gatherings in the country for the next six months until a year.

"Although the MCO will be lifted in two weeks, but our practices have changed, they are not a norm anymore.

"Our practices (for now), are that we don't shake hands, we wash our hands frequently, observe social distancing and we don't encourage mass gatherings at all," he said.

On wearing of face masks, Noor Hisham reiterated that only those who exhibit symptoms and frontliners who deal with the public are advised to wear a mask.

"(For the rest), as long as you practice social distancing of up to one meter, that's more than adequate. But if you want to take extra precautions it's up to you (to wear a mask)," he said.

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