PUTRAJAYA, April 5 — There is a need to intensify preventive and control measures against the COVID-19 pandemic in the country if the infectivity rate (Rt) or R-naught (R0) exceeds 1.2, Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Adham Baba said today.

Dr Adham has expressed concern over the current trend of daily new cases which surpassed 1,000 cases per day with an Rt of 1.0, compared to the projected Rt at 0.8 which means that the COVID-19 cases in the country are well controlled.

“Our concern is that the Rt will reach 1.2 and the control measures other than vaccination have to be intensified. I urge the public to adhere to the stipulated standard operating procedures,” he said in a news conference on the National COVID-19 Immunisation Programme development here, today with the programme Coordinating Minister Khairy Jamaluddin also present.

Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah reported that 1,349 new COVID-19 cases were recorded yesterday with an Rt of 1.01.

Asked on whether Malaysia would face a fourth wave of the pandemic, Dr Adham said it depended on the reopening of the country’s borders.

In a related development, he said the Health Ministry has detected nine COVID-19 cases infected with the South African B.1.351 variant but the situation was under control and all patients involved have been treated and quarantined.

“We will continue to monitor the daily imported cases, isolate the patients and identify their close contacts,” he said.

On hospital preparedness to contain the pandemic, Dr Adham said the ministry has 63 designated hospitals nationwide, of which seven hospitals were full COVID-19 hospitals and 56 others were hybrid hospitals.

The seven hospitals are the Sungai Buloh Hospital, Enche Besar Hajjah Khalsom Hospital in Kluang, Johor; Tampin Hospital; Kepala Batas Hospital; Hulu Terengganu Hospital; Tumpat Hospital and the old Kuala Krai Hospital.

Dr Adham said the total number of designated beds for COVID-19 patients were 6,775 with a usage rate of about 37 per cent.

Meanwhile, he said the ministry was scrutinising the data from the Communicable Disease Control Unit and World Health Organisation on the proposal to allow individuals who have completed their vaccination to travel across states.

“So far, we have not obtained the concrete evidence to allow those who have completed two doses of the vaccine shots to travel interstate…the proposal will be taken to the National Security Council meeting,” he said.


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