By Melati Mohd Ariff
This is a round-up of COVID-19 related matters in Malaysia and globally from Oct 10 up to 12.30 pm today. In Malaysia, case numbers have exceeded 18,000 and globally, the virus has infected more than 39 million people and caused over a million deaths. More than 200 countries and territories are affected by the pandemic.
KUALA LUMPUR (Bernama) – As reports point to the possibility that the D614G-type mutation may be responsible for the COVID-19 cases in Sabah, the number of new infections reported daily in the state continue to soar.
Sabah also accounted for all the COVID-19 fatalities that occurred this week.
Over the 24-hour period up to noon yesterday, Sabah accounted for 304, or 51.6 percent, of the 589 new cases reported by the Ministry of Health (MOH).
According to Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah, the mutated virus, which has a high infective rate, may have originated from the Philippines or Indonesia.
As of yesterday, Malaysia’s total COVID-19 positive cases had swelled to 18,129. Active cases, meanwhile, climbed 5,945.
In the Klang Valley yesterday, Selangor recorded 150 cases; Kuala Lumpur nine; and Putrajaya one.
Yesterday also saw 409 patients discharged from hospital – the highest number of recovered cases recorded in a single day since the COVID-19 outbreak started in Malaysia. This brings the total number of recovered cases to 12,014 or 66.3 percent of total cases.
FATALITIES AND OTHER CASES
Malaysia’s COVID-19 death tally now stood at 170 (0.9 percent of total cases).
During the week under review, between Oct 10 (Saturday) and yesterday, 18 new fatalities were reported, all in the Land Below the Wind. The breakdown is as follows: three (yesterday), four (Oct 14), four (Oct 13), two (Oct 12), two (Oct 11) and three (Oct 10).
Currently, 103 patients are in the intensive care unit with 31 needing respiratory aid.
For the record, new COVID-cases reported this week are as follows: 589 (yesterday), 660 (Oct 14), 660 (Oct 13), 563 ( Oct 12), 561 (Oct 11) and 374 (Oct 10).
Meanwhile, a total of 394 cases reported between Sept 22 and Oct 13 had a history of travel to Sabah.
According to MOH, 23 clusters throughout Malaysia have index cases with a history of travel to Sabah.
CLUSTERS, COVID-19 CASE STATUS
Yesterday, Dr Noor Hisham announced that Malaysia has so far recorded 178 clusters, 103 of which have ended.
As of yesterday, there were 75 clusters, out of which 23 were still active.
The breakdown of yesterday’s new cases in the various states is as follows: Sabah 304 cases as well as a new cluster dubbed Olive, which reported 13 cases; Selangor 150 cases with 125 from existing clusters; Perak 52 cases with a new cluster Bah Pengkalan (two cases); Kedah 31 cases with 28 from Tembok cluster; Penang 16; Negeri Sembilan 11; Kuala Lumpur nine; Labuan six with two from a new cluster Saguking; Sarawak two; Melaka two; Kelantan two; and Putrajaya one case with a new cluster Bah Pasir.
With the hike in the number of new cases and active clusters in recent weeks, MOH said several districts in Peninsular Malaysia have turned into yellow and red zones. As of Oct 14, a total of 52 districts were declared yellow zones and 19 districts red zones.
ADDITIONAL RESOURCES FOR SABAH
Sabah is clearly Malaysia’s COVID-19 “battle zone” and the government is working hard to meet its needs for additional medical resources.
The Malaysian Armed Forces will cooperate with the Health Ministry to transform the Tawau Sports Complex into a field hospital to treat non-COVID-19 patients in Tawau.
With the availability of the field hospital, there will be more space in Hospital Tawau to treat the more serious category three to category five COVID-19 cases, including those referred from nearby districts such as Semporna.
Yesterday, a medical team from the Malaysian Armed Forces arrived in Tawau to start work at the field hospital. The team comprises four officers and 32 members of the First Medical Battalion based in Kuching and Kota Kinabalu.
Hospital Tawau is among the nine hospitals in Sabah treating COVID-19 patients.
MOH also announced that it will send 140 medical officers and 225 assistant medical officers to Sabah starting this month.
Labuan, which is also facing a spike in COVID-19 cases, is the latest to be added to the list of states where Conditional Movement Control Order (CMCO) has been enforced. Labuan’s CMCO will take effect tomorrow till Oct 30.
Sabah was first to be placed under CMCO (Oct 12 to 26), followed by Selangor and the federal territories of Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya from Oct 14 to 27.
The restriction in movements will curb the transmission of the virus, as well as allow MOH to carry out targeted active case detection on a larger scale.
To stem the rise in new cases and clusters involving individuals with a travel history to Sabah, all Sabah returnees must undergo COVID-19 screening at all international and domestic entry points, as well as issued the 14-day Home Surveillance Order from the date of arrival.
They are required to wear their pink wristbands during home quarantine and monitor their health using the Home Assessment Tool found in the MySejahtera mobile application.
GLOBAL COVID-19 STATISTICS
According to CoronaTracker (which cites figures from various agencies including the World Health Organisation), the total number of COVID-19 cases worldwide at the time of writing this article stood at 39,169,824 (36,751,502 cases at the same time last Friday) and 1,102,919 deaths (1,066,856 last Friday). The total number of recoveries stood at 29,378,268.
The United States continues to head the list of badly-hit nations with 8,216,315 cases (7,833,763 last Friday) and 222,717 deaths (217,738 last week).
India is on the second spot with 7,365,509 cases and 112,146 deaths.
Brazil is third with 5,170,996 cases and 152,513 fatalities. Russia is fourth with 1,354,163 cases and 23,49 deaths.
Another 40 countries (last week 38) have recorded cases exceeding 100,000, namely:
Spain 972,958 cases (33,553 deaths), Argentina 949,063 (25,342); Colombia 936,982 (28,457), Peru 859,740 (33,577), Mexico 834,910 (85,285), France 809,684 (33,125), South Africa 698,184 (18,309), United Kingdom 673,622 (43,293), Iran 517,835 (29,605), Chile 486,496 (13,434), Iraq 416,802 (10,086), Bangladesh 384,559 (5,608), Italy 381,602 (36,372), Indonesia 349,160 (12,268), Germany 348,816 (9,810), Philippines 348,698 (6,497), Turkey 342,143 (9,080) Saudi Arabia 341,062 (5,127), Pakistan 321,218 (6,614), Israel 300,201 (2,127), Ukraine 281,239 (5,302), Holland 203,954 (6,692), Belgium 191,959 (10,327), Canada 191,732 (9,699), Romania 168,490 (5,674), Morocco 163,650 (2,772), Equador 150,360 (12,306), Poland 149,903 (3,308), Czechia 149,010 (1,230), Bolivia 139,319 (8,407), Qatar 128,803 (222), Panama 122,883 (2,529), Nepal 121,745 (694), Dominican Republic 120,066 (2,189), Kuwait 114,015 (684), United Arab Emirates 111,437 (452), Kazakhstan 109,202 (1,768), Oman 108,296 (1,071), Egypt 105,033 (6,088) and Sweden 102,407 (5,910).
China, where the outbreak was first reported at end-December 2019, is now on the 52nd spot with 85,646 cases while its death toll remains unchanged at 4,634.
In Southeast Asia, the Philippines and Indonesia have joined the countries with more than 100,000 cases. Next is Singapore with 57,892 cases while its death toll increased by one to 28, followed by Myanmar with 32,351 cases and 765 deaths. (Last week at this time, Myanmar reported 22,445 cases and 535 deaths.)
Thailand has recorded 3,665 cases while its death toll remains at 59, followed by Vietnam with 1,124 cases and 35 deaths.
Cambodia’s cases rose to 281 and its death tally remains zero. Also unchanged are Brunei’s tally at 141 cases and two deaths, and Laos’ 23 cases and zero fatality.
According to the WHO website, its China country office was informed of cases of pneumonia that were detected in Wuhan on Dec 31, 2019. On Jan 7, the Chinese authorities confirmed that the novel coronavirus can be transmitted from human to human.
Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that cause illnesses ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-COV).
A study of the virus’ genetic sequence suggested similarities to that seen in snakes and bats. China health officials identified the Huanan Seafood Market in Wuhan as the source of the transmission of the coronavirus.
On Feb 11, WHO announced the official name of the virus, COVID-19, which is an acronym for coronavirus 2019 – CO stands for corona, VI for virus and D for disease.
On Jan 30, WHO declared the coronavirus outbreak as a global emergency. By then, it had spread to 18 countries and caused 170 deaths. On March 11, COVID-19 was declared a pandemic by WHO.
WHO has described the COVID-19 outbreak as 10 times more dangerous than the A H1N1 Influenza, also known as Swine Flu.
Swine Flu, which occurred between January 2009 and August 2010, infected more than 1.6 million people and caused 18,449 fatalities.
The International Monetary Fund has warned that the global economic recession caused by the COVID-19 pandemic will be worse than the Great Depression of the 1930s.
Translated by Rema Nambiar
Malaysia National News Agency
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