Malaysia struggles to slow Covid-19 infections, with lockdowns proposed in targeted areas
KUALA LUMPUR - Stricter movement restrictions will not be the answer for Malaysia's battle against the coronavirus, the country's public health experts said as the country's ongoing partial lockdowns - which has lasted for the past one month- have failed to bring down the daily Covid-19 infections.. Read more at straitstimes.com.
Despite the introduction of the Conditional Movement Control Order (CMCO) in Klang Valley since Oct 14, the virus has shown no sign of abating in Malaysia's main economic regions.The country recorded over 1,000 daily infections in nine of the last 14 days, from Nov 2, including a record high of 1, 755 daily cases on Nov 6. The capital Kuala Lumpur alone recording 475 cases on Sunday (Nov 15) due to 460 cases logged at a construction site.
Sunday's 475 cases was the first time in months that a Peninsular Malaysia state had eclipsed the amount cases in Borneo state Sabah, which was the epicentre of Malaysia's third wave of Covid-19 cases.Malaysian Public Health Physicians Association president Dr Zainal Ariffin Omar said the the government should reanalyse its data and interventions to focus on the most vulnerable groups.
"Not MCO. Not CMCO. But Enhanced MCO (targeted lockdowns) in very specific locations and premises," Datuk Dr Zainal told The Straits Times."Active clusters such as Kaya, Cergas are examples of weaknesses in CMCO. At the same time, increase testing and isolating." headtopics.com
Dr Zainal was referring to clusters originating in workplace communities that eventually recorded high numbers of positive cases. These compare to the previous trend where most cases were originating from prisons and detention centres.Enhanced MCO, or EMCO, refers to full lockdowns in only a small area where infections are high. Barbed wire fences are placed around these"red zones" - with more than 40 cases logged in the past 14 days - no one is allowed to enter or leave for two weeks, and every resident is tested for the virus.
The government on Monday (Nov 16) announced EMCO for dormitories operated by glovemaker Top Glove and its surrounding areas in Klang.Another area called Medan 88, near the Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Sepang, was placed under EMCO last week.Under the CMCO which now affects nine of Malaysia's 13 states and all three federal territories - Kuala Lumpur, Putrajaya and Labuan - the public could still travel to work and shop, but cannot cross state borders unless for work or emergencies. Mass gatherings such as religious services are banned, and only three people are allowed to travel in the same vehicle.
"CMCO did work to some extent. Otherwise we would see a lot more cases. The act of balancing between opening up and restricted movement often resulted in confused standard operating procedures (SOP)," he said.More on this topic Universiti Putra Malaysia epidemiologist Assoc Prof Dr Malina Osman meanwhile said that Malaysia does not have a"better choice" except to educate people to ensure better compliance of the CMCO restrictions.
"Enhanced MCO may be needed but the distribution of the infection in the community as well as issues related to logistics may not allow it to be a favourable choice," Dr Malina told The Straits Times."The keyword is to remain patient under this CMCO, continue complying with the SOPs and help each other to strengthen the preventive measures, and to care for the society as well," she added, adding that an increased testing regiment is also costly for the government as there is currently no vaccine in the market for the virus. headtopics.com
Calculations made by health news site Code Blue over the weekend showed that the average daily cases in Klang valley- a region covering the state of Selangor, Kuala Lumpur and administrative capital Putrajaya- has continuously increased since the CMCO was implemented.
The region averaged 83 cases a day when the CMCO first started in the second week of October, but the average jumped to 265 cases a day by the end of the last week.More on this topic Former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad had also called for more targeted lockdowns instead of a blanket semi-lockdown which he said was hurting the nation's economy and the less privileged group.
Malaysia's Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Khairy Jamaluddin on Monday (Nov 16) said that Malaysia is already in talks with at least eight producers of the Covid-19 vaccine. Read more: The Straits Times »