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Covid-19 infections in Malaysia may have already peaked, says Health D-G

KUALA LUMPUR (April 10): Health director-general (DG) Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said the peak of Covid-19 infections in the country may have already passed, as it is now seeing declining daily infections.

Some quarters, like JP Morgan and Malaysian Institute of Economic Research, had previously predicted that Malaysia's Covid-19 infections would only peak by mid-April.

"We had that peak last week. Now, our [infection] trend is quite stable at the moment and we have not seen any exponential growth. That is a good sign for us,” said Noor Hisham.

He also welcomed the Government's decision to extend the movement control order (MCO) period by another two weeks to April 28, adding the MCO has helped lower the infection rate in Malaysia, which he termed as "R nought" or "R0".

Before the MCO, Malaysia's R0 was 3.55, he said, which meant that each positive case could go on to infect 3.55 people.

“Now, when we look at it today, we have managed to bring down the R0 to 1.0, which means MCO for Phase 1 and Phase 2 have been effective for us. Because when everybody stays at home, infection will be less.

“We expect that by April 14, the R0 would be 0.9. If we can bring it down to 0.9, we are on the right track,” he told reporters during his daily briefing on the Covid-19 situation in the country.

An R0 rate of 0.9 means each positive case will infect less than one person.

“Public health experts have advised that to control and break the chain of Covid-19 infections, we need to consider three cycles of incubation periods. One incubation period is 14 days, so we need about six weeks,” he said.

Meanwhile, he said the MoH will be collaborating with a medical team from China, which will be arriving in two weeks, to conduct further studies on the virus.

Malaysia reported 118 new Covid-19 infections today, bringing the total confirmed cases in the country to 4,346, of which 1,830 have recovered, and 70 died.

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