KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 30 — The Covid-19 infection rate in Selangor has risen 2.4 times in a fortnight to a level where cases are almost doubling in the community, even higher than Sabah.
Health director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah tweeted that the R0 (pronounced R-naught) value in Selangor was 1.95 yesterday, compared to September 15 when it was 0.80. A 1.95 R0 value means that one infected person on average will transmit the disease to 1.95 people.
Daily Covid-19 cases reported in Selangor jumped from two cases on September 26 to 11 cases each day for the next two days, before increasing to 15 cases yesterday.
Sabah, on the other hand, which has been reporting a major portion of Malaysia’s daily Covid-19 cases, had an R0 value of 1.26 yesterday. The Covid-19 outbreak in Kedah appeared to be dying out, as the northern state’s R0 value declined from 1.23 on September 25 to 0.65 yesterday.
Dr Noor Hisham tweeted that the R0 value for Malaysia as a whole is 1.25, which means that each case on average now will create 1.25 new cases. He previously said last September 10 that MOH deemed an R0 value of 1.6 in the country as “critical”.
R0 is described as the average number of people who will get the disease from a single infected person in a population that has not seen the disease before. An R0 value of more than one means that the virus will keep spreading, while a value below one indicates that the outbreak is likely dying out. An R0 value above two shows that the infection rate is doubling in the community.
As Sabah has been reporting a surge in the number of Covid-19 cases, returnees from Sabah who were infected with the coronavirus have spread the infection to all other states, including Selangor. Yesterday, out of the 14 new cases detected in Selangor, nine of them had a history of travel to Sabah.
The Ministry of Health (MOH) announced last Saturday that all individuals returning from the state of Sabah from September 27 till October 10 have to be tested for Covid-19 at the domestic and international gates of airports and will be issued a home quarantine order with wrist bands. Those who test negative will then be released from quarantine however, still encouraged to self quarantine for 14 days, as the incubation period of the coronavirus is three to 14 days.
Unfortunately, before this rule was implemented, some people living in the peninsula, who had returned from Sabah, spread the Covid-19 infection locally to their close contacts.
The Jalan Apas cluster in Klang, Selangor, for example, was first detected from two index cases on September 28 among a couple who had a history of travel to Tawau and Semporna.
According to MOH’s latest 14-day moving chart, six out of nine districts in Selangor have been labelled as yellow zones, which includes Hulu Langat, Petaling, Klang, Kuala Langat, Sepang, and Hulu Selangor. A district is marked yellow if it has one to 40 reported local Covid-19 cases within the past 14 days, whereas it is marked red if it has 41 cases and above.
MOH’s moving chart excludes inter-district and inter-state cases, which means that cases living in the peninsula, for example, are not listed if they were believed to have contracted the infection from another state like Sabah.
On the other hand, four districts in Sabah have been marked as red zones: Tawau, Lahad Datu, Kunak and Semporna.
Dr Noor Hisham reminded the public to follow the standard operating procedures (SOPs) and interventions by MOH.