KUALA LUMPUR: The upcoming total lockdown, if implemented properly along with the Covid-19 National Immunisation Programme (NIP) and other public health measures, could help flatten the Covid-19 curve by September.
Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said the ministry had projected that Malaysia could see over 13,000 cases by June 14, if stricter restrictions were not put in place and the people failed to comply fully with the standard operating procedures (SOP).
On this note, he said the lockdown, which would be imposed from Tuesday (June 1) to June 14 was a much needed move to bring down the number of new cases, Covid-19 fatalities and reduce the burden on the country’s healthcare system.
“Our projections have been accurate so far, for instance the ministry predicted to see 8,000 cases on May 29 and we logged over 9,000 cases (last Saturday). There will be at times a difference of about 500 or 1,000 cases (in the projection).
“It (the forecast) will demonstrate an increasing, peak or decreasing trend in new infections and we need to gather the average data over a seven-day period to determine the expected number of cases.
“Past data had projected that Malaysia will record 13,000 cases on June 14. This is why, the government has to enforce the (upcoming) lockdown with restrictions similar to the MCO 1.0 to ensure no gatherings or assemblies.
“This two-week lockdown, or longer, if implemented successfully, will also help to ease the strain on hospitals, ensuring we have sufficient (medical) equipment and also provide some reprieve to the frontliners,” he said in a joint press conference with Senior Minister (Security Cluster) Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob on Sunday.
Dr Noor Hisham said aside from ensuring the public stays at home, the state government along with the members of parliament and assemblymen could help by carrying out targeted screening on the ground using the Antigen Rapid Test Kit (RTK-Ag).
Besides that, he said the government would tighten border control to prevent the spread of new and more contagious variants in the community.
“As of now, we have good border control but we are worried of the possibility of new variants spreading in the country as such variants have been detected in the region. To date, four variants of concern (VOC) have been detected here – the UK Variant, Indian variant, Brazil variant and South African variant.
“Vietnam has detected a new variant of the coronavirus, which is the hybrid of the Covid-19 variants from India and the UK that spreads quickly by air.
“We have not identified this hybrid variant in Malaysia, but it is crucial to prevent it from entering the country.”
These new variants, he said appeared to be more transmissible and contagious which could lead to more Covid-19 deaths, if not immediately addressed.
Dr Noor Hisham further said it was of utmost importance that the authorities continue working towards ramping up the number of those who had been inoculated to build the country’s resistance against the virus.
“We need to raise our vaccination (rate). I was informed for June we have more than 10,000 doses to be used to boost the vaccination rate in the community.
“On top of that, the ministry will step up its find, test, trace, isolate and support (FTTIS) system.
“The public must also adopt and practise the new normal and observe the SOP by staying at home.
“These public health measures, coupled with the vaccination strategy would Insya-Allah (God willing) help us to flatten the Covid-19 curve perhaps in the next three to four months,” he added.