Malaysia sees early signs of effectiveness for COVID-19 measures: Health ministry

Malaysia sees early signs of effectiveness for COVID-19 measures: Health ministry

Workers wearing protective suits pray before a disinfection operation, during the movement control
Workers wearing protective suits pray before a disinfection operation in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on Apr 1, 2020. (Photo: Reuters/Lim Huey Teng)

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia on Wednesday (Apr 1) reported 142 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the total number of cases to 2,908. 

Health director-general Noor Hisham Abdullah said with two new deaths, the country's COVID-19 death toll reached 45.

Dr Noor Hisham said there were early signs that efforts taken by the government and the ministry in curbing the virus were working. 

He was referring to a graph by the Malaysian Institute of Economic Research, which portrayed the actual trajectory of the number of cases from Mar 24 to Mar 30.

“If you look at the graph, it shows the projected trajectory and the actual trajectory and in the actual one you can see that the graph is gradually flattening. 

“This means the efforts taken by the ministry and all other agencies involved is working. However, the next two weeks is crucial in determining if the situation can continue to improve,” he said. 

READ: Malaysia's stay-at-home order preventing major spikes in COVID-19 cases, says government

Dr Noor Hisham then pleaded with Malaysians to continue abiding by the Movement Control Order until Apr 14. 

“We believe in two weeks we can further flatten the curve,” he said.

Separately, Dr Noor Hisham also highlighted that Malaysia reported its highest number of daily recoveries - 108 cases - on Wednesday, bringing the total number of recoveries to 645.

The country's current recovery rate is 22 per cent, he added. 

DRIVE-THRU OR E-BAZAARS A POSSIBILITY

Referring to public concerns on the effect of having Ramadan bazaars which would attract thousands of Malaysians daily, Dr Noor Hisham said they are re-evaluating the methods to carry out the bazaars. 

“We could look at e-bazaars or drive-through bazaars as a possibility. We are reviewing the standard operating procedures (SOPs) to see what would be best,” he said. 

On Tuesday, Dr Noor Hisham had said that the Health Ministry would allow Ramadan bazaars to take place if the SOPs are followed.

READ: 'Talk like Doraemon' - Malaysian ministry issues tips for wives during COVID-19 movement control order

Also on Tuesday, Federal Territories Minister Annuar Musa had said that Malaysia would continue with Ramadan bazaars although other countries have decided it was not a good idea. 

He was reported as saying that the bazaars would be modified to prevent congestion, adding that Ramadan bazaars this year could be held with up to 50 stalls in any one place, or perhaps only 10 stalls which are spaced out and opened in many places.

On Wednesday however, Mr Annuar said the government was still reviewing if it was viable to carry out the bazaars.

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