With MCO nearing end, Dr Noor Hisham reports consecutive daily increase in COVID-19 infectivity rate

The effective reproduction number (Rt) of COVID-19 infections rose again yesterday, in line with new daily cases that have begun creeping up once more.

Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah disclosed this morning that the Rt for all of Malaysia yesterday was 0.92, marginally up from the 0.91 the day before and 0.88 on February 11.

The Rt measures the average number of vulnerable people that each new COVID-19 patient will infect at a specific point in time.

The Rt for COVID-19 must be below 1.0 in order for the spread of the disease to be suppressed.

The Health Ministry has increasingly employed Rt in place of the basic reproduction number (R0) used previously to gauge COVID-19 infectivity, as the former provides a more useful benchmark for how quickly the disease is spreading.

According to Dr Noor Hisham, the Rt was highest yesterday in Melaka (1.07), Penang (1.06), Kedah (1.04), and Johor (1.01).

Selangor, which has contributed the bulk of recent cases, came in at 0.89 but neighbouring Kuala Lumpur was at 0.95 or above the national average.

Dr Noor Hisham appended a chart of case growth projections that showed Malaysia aligning itself with an Rt of 1.1 overall.

Yesterday, Malaysia added 3,499 more COVID-19 infections for a cumulative total of 261,805 cases, of which 51,558 are active and infectious.

For comparison, Malaysia had 138,224 total and 28,554 active cases when the movement control order was announced on January 11.

The twice-extended MCO is scheduled to expire next Thursday, February 18. ― Malay Mail


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