Thursday, 22 Oct 2020
16/10/2020 09:17 PM

By Melati Mohd Ariff

This is a round-up of COVID-19 related matters in Malaysia and globally from Oct 10 up to 8.00 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 daily new infections reported in the state continued to soar for seven days in a row.    

Sabah also accounted for all except one COVID-19 fatalities that occurred this week.

Over the 24-hour period up to noon today, Sabah accounted for 489, or 77.7 percent, of the 629 new cases reported by the Ministry of Health (MOH).

According to Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah, the high figures were attributed to the large-scale COVID-19 screenings being carried out in the state.

He told the media yesterday the mutated virus, which has a high infective rate, may have originated from the Philippines or Indonesia.

As of today, Malaysia’s total COVID-19 positive cases had swelled to 18,758. Active cases, meanwhile, climbed to 6,323.

In the Klang Valley today, Selangor recorded 50 cases; Kuala Lumpur 10; and Putrajaya two.

The whole of Klang Valley is now under the Conditional Movement Control Order (CMCO).

A total of 245 patients were discharged today, bringing the total number of recovered cases to 12,259 or 65.35 percent of total cases.

Yesterday saw 409 patients discharged– the highest number of recovered cases recorded in a single day since the COVID-19 outbreak started in Malaysia.



KTMB auxiliary police patrolling trains wearing a smart helmet that can read the temperature of train passengers. --fotoBERNAMA (2020) ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Today, six deaths were reported bringing Malaysia’s COVID-19 death tally to 176 (0.9 percent of total cases).

During the week under review, between Oct 10 (Saturday) and today, 24 fatalities were reported, 23 of which occurred in the Land Below the Wind. The breakdown is as follows: five today, three yesterday, four (Oct 14), four (Oct 13), two (Oct 12), two (Oct 11) and three (Oct 10).

Currently, 99 patients are in the intensive care unit with 31 needing respiratory aid.

For the record, new COVID-cases reported this week are as follows: 629 (today), 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.



Putrajaya police conducting a road check at Lebuh Sentosa leading to the Mex Expressway. --fotoBERNAMA (2020) ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Dr Noor Hisham announced today that Malaysia has so far recorded 181 clusters, 104 of which have ended.

As of today, there were 77 clusters, out of which 21 were active.

The breakdown of today’s new cases in the various states is as follows: Sabah 489 cases, 260 of which were close contacts; Selangor 50 cases with eight from a new cluster Merbok; Penang 33 cases with 32 from existing clusters; Labuan 19 cases with nine from the Bundle cluster; Kuala Lumpur 10 cases including two imported; Perak nine cases including five from a new cluster Buntar; Kedah seven cases; Johor five cases; Melaka three cases; Putrajaya two cases; Negeri Sembilan one case; and Pahang one case.

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.



Duchess of Kent Hospital director Dr Francis Paul checking the facilities at the Sandakan Sports Complex that has been turned into a temporary hospital for the more stable COVID-19 patients. --fotoBERNAMA (2020) ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

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.



A man dressed as Spiderman urging the public to heed all standard operating procedures at the Johor Bahru bazaar. --fotoBERNAMA (2020) ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

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.



Current worldwide statistics on COVID-19 and COVID-19 case summary in Malaysia.

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 39,230,164 (36,751,502 cases at the same time last Friday) and 1,103,724 deaths (1,066,856 last Friday). The total number of recoveries stood at 29,410,149.

The United States continues to head the list of badly-hit nations with 8,219,088 cases (7,833,763 last Friday) and 222,754 deaths (217,738 last week).

India is on the second spot with 7,372,394 cases and 112,214 deaths. 

Brazil is third with 5,170,996 cases and 152,513 fatalities. Russia is fourth with 1,369,313 cases and 23,723 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 386,086 (5,623), Italy 381,602 (36,372), Indonesia 353,461 (12,347), Philippines 351,750 (6,531), Germany 349,639 (9,816), Turkey 342,143 (9,080) Saudi Arabia 341,062 (5,127), Pakistan 321,877 (6,621), Israel 301,289 (2,128), Ukraine 287,231 (5,408), 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 157,608 (3,440), 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 57,901 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 3,669 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




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