COVID-19 cases may increase drastically if R0 exceeds 1.6 – Health DG


PUTRAJAYA, July 23 – Malaysia may see a surge in the number of new COVID-19 cases soon if the infectivity rate or R-naught (R0) exceeds 1.6.

Voicing his worry, Health Director-General Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said the current R0 had increased to 1.36 compared to 0.3 during the Conditional Movement Control Order (CMCO) which ended on June 9.

He said, this followed the increase in the number of cases as well as new clusters recently.

“The number of active cases with the infectivity rare on July 9 was 63, and today, there is an increase of 143.

“If the R-naught (R0) rises, we are worried that this means there are many who will be infected. What is dangerous is if the R-naught exceeds 1.6,” he said in a press conference here today

Dr Noor Hisham urged Malaysians to continue complying with all instructions and standard operating procedure (SOP) set by the government and Health Ministry.

“There are only three things which must be done which are social distancing, wearing masks and cleaning the hands often with soap or sanitiser,” he said.

On the decision by the government to make wearing masks compulsory when in public transportation and crowded places from August 1, Dr Noor Hisham urged the public to immediately wear masks without waiting for the enforcement date.

“Even though the order making it compulsory to wear masks will be enforced on Aug 1, we must impose it on ourselves, our families to wear it earlier,” he said.

He reminded that wearing masks can reduce the infectivity rate of COVID-19 by up to 60 per cent while social distancing can bring it down by almost 70 per cent.


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