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Covid-19: More are severely ill
Published:  May 3, 2021 10:39 PM
Updated: May 4, 2021 1:06 AM

Good morning, here's what you need to know today.

Key Highlights

  • More are severely ill

  • Toll freeze or Covid-19 aid?

  • India flights spotlight

More are severely ill

The Health Ministry said more are becoming
severely ill from Covid-19 and many are younger people.

It pointed out that Covid-19 patients suffering from Category 4 or 5 symptoms have increased from 6.7 percent in January to 35.2 percent in April.

Category 1 and 2 patients suffer milder symptoms, Category 3 ones develop some form of pneumonia but can still breathe on their own, those in Category 4 need oxygen supply while Category 5 patients need a ventilator to breathe.

The ministry attributed this to younger people seeking treatment late and also the proliferation of new Covid-19 variants.

The finding is in line with data tracking that showed patients numbers in the ICUs to be at an
all-time high, worse than when the country recorded more than 5,000 new cases a day in February.

The country added 103 new ICU patients, bringing the total to 352, in the last two weeks. This excludes those who were put in ICU and subsequently died. Intubated patients of 186 are also at an all-time high.


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Toll freeze or Covid-19 aid?

The Perikatan Nasional (PN) government is setting aside
RM2.25 billion to freeze impending toll hikes at more than 20 highways.

Conventionally, Putrajaya has been keener to pay toll operators compensation than to see toll prices go up to avoid public backlash.

But critics claim priorities are misplaced at a time when many vulnerable groups are struggling during the Covid-19 pandemic and the government is
short on money.

PSM, for example, believes the RM2.25 billion can
greatly help the poor. In contrast, it said freezing toll hikes will have little material impact on them.

Damansara MP Tony Pua proposed that Putrajaya proceeds with the previous Pakatan Harapan government’s plan to take over several highways in the Klang Valley.

Pua said the takeover would be funded by bonds, which in turn are serviced through congestion charges. This, he said,
could save the government hundreds of millions of ringgit in compensation to toll operators and also see charges go down.

The PN government had
scrapped the takeover plan but is exploring alternatives.


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India flights spotlight

Social media was abuzz over four Malaysia Airlines flights arriving from India despite a ban on travellers from the country.

However, Transport Minister Wee Ka Siong
explained they were passenger planes converted to cargo flights, a common practice after international travel plummeted during the pandemic. There were no passengers.

There has been increasing concern over India as it is now recording the world’s highest increase in daily Covid-19 cases, helped by the more virulent B.1.617 strain. It added 370,059 new cases yesterday.

The trend also raised concerns about meat imports from India. However, tests
showed there was no Covid-19 contamination.

While Malaysia managed to catch a B.1.617 case at the international entry point and has imposed stringent rules on travellers from India, the South African B.1.351 variant is, unfortunately, already spreading locally.

Health authorities believe the B.1.351 variant made it to Kelantan after someone caught the virus from
a kenduri in Kuala Lumpur. The variant was previously only limited to parts of Selangor.

The B.1.351 variant can render the AstraZeneca vaccine ineffective, which many have
volunteered for after weighing the rare risk of blood clots.

Immunisation Minister Khairy Jamaluddin defended the
voluntary policy for the AstraZeneca vaccine, pointing out some 8,000 people had cancelled their appointment when the government initially mandated the AstraZeneca vaccine.


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A daily glance at Covid-19

  • 2,500 new cases yesterday (May 3) with most infections centred in the Klang Valley, Kelantan and Sarawak.

  • Another 18 people died, the highest daily fatalities since Feb 18. This was the tenth consecutive day of double digits deaths. The death toll is now at 1,551.
  • The infectivity rate stands at 1.11. That means for every 100 infected persons, they spread the virus to another 110 people. It has not gone under 1.0 since April 7. The infectivity rate must be under 1.0 to prevent an exponential increase in cases.

  • For trends on daily cases, tests, hospital beds capacity, vaccination progress and more, follow our Covid-19 tracker.

What else is happening?

  • The Melor state seat in Kelantan was declared vacant following the death of its incumbent Md Yusnan Yusof on April 30. A by-election is not expected as polls are suspended during the emergency.

  • Inspector-General of Police Abdul Hamid Bador formally handed over the reins to his successor Acryl Sani Abdullah Sani. Home Minister Hamzah Zainuddin, who is in conflict with Hamid, was absent from the ceremony as he had to attend another meeting.

  • Singer Siti Nurhaliza denied bringing a preacher from out-of-state to her home. She said the preacher from Terengganu was coincidentally in Kuala Lumpur for another engagement. Interstate travel is currently banned to curb the spread of Covid-19.

  • Some students at LimKokWing University complained that their studies have been "in vain" after learning that the courses they took were not accredited by the Malaysian Qualifications Agency (MQA). The university said it was in the midst of getting accreditation.

  • In conjunction with World Press Freedom Day yesterday, Malaysiakini took a look at key events affecting press freedom in Malaysia and why the country's freefall in the Press Freedom Index matters.


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What are people saying?

Said Zahari: Unsung Mandela of press freedom
By KS Jomo
High time for Royal Commission of Public Service
By Abdul Aziz Bari
Teacher overjoyed with UPSR abolishment
By Kathryn



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