Can Malaysia Keep Covid-19 Free for 28 days? Health DG Hopes So

PUTRAJAYA: With Malaysia recording zero daily local transmission Covid-19 cases for the first time, the Health Ministry is now targeting to maintain this for 28 consecutive days.

Health director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said this is not impossible if Malaysians continue to adhere to its Covid-19 standard operating procedures (SOP).

“The ministry will continue to closely monitor locally transmitted Covid-19 cases and today is a good start. We have zero local transmissions.

“What is more important is for us to maintain and sustain zero local transmissions for the next 28 days.

“I am sure we can achieve that together – if everyone adheres to the ministry’s SOP, ” said Dr Noor Hisham at the ministry’s Covid-19 press conference here on Wednesday (July 1).

Twenty-eight days correspond to two Covid-19 incubation cycles.

At present, a Covid-19 cluster is considered ‘closed’ when there are no new cases for 28 continuous days.

Dr Noor Hisham had previously said that the ministry could only declare the country free of Covid-19 if there were no new cases for 28 days.

With schools allowed to resume, the ministry, he said, is looking to reopen more sectors throughout the recovery movement control order (MCO) period, which is scheduled to end on Aug 31.

However, if the ministry detects an outbreak in schools or any other areas, a “semi enhanced MCO” can be declared for the building or locality to contain the infection, said Dr Noor Hisham.

“Our intention throughout the recovery MCO is to open up all sectors. But the ministry will continue to monitor schools and have surveillance on the number of cases.

“If there is any outbreak, we will close down the affected facilities and conduct screening on the people there – just like what we have done in the past, ” he said.

Dr Noor Hisham said it had continued with targeted testing on identified high-risk groups, even if there are no new cases.

“For example, old folks homes and markets are considered high-risk groups. We still conduct screening there, even if there is no spike in cases.

“Recently, we’ve found a case in a Sandakan market, and we had to shut down the place, ” he said.


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