Dr Noor Hisham says “strong social responsibility” needed as Malaysia’s COVID-19 infectivity rate creeps up to 1.0

Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah has today exhorted the public for “strong social responsibility” in order to flatten the COVID-19 curve, as its infectivity rate has risen slowly in the past three days.

Yesterday, the country’s COVID-19 effective reproduction number (Rt) peaked at 1.0 after steadily climbing up from 0.94 on Monday, with Labuan, Pahang and Putrajaya topping the list in the country.

“We need strong social responsibility and compliance to flatten the curve again,” Dr Noor Hisham posted on Twitter this morning.

The Rt value represents the average number of vulnerable people that each new COVID-19 patient could potentially infect, with a value of below 1.0 needed to successfully suppress the spread of the disease.

Previously, the Rt had stayed flat at 0.94 between March 20 and 22.

The Rt had never reached 1.0 in the last month, with the highest value of 0.99 occurring on February 24, and a month later at March 24.

Labuan had the highest Rt among all the states and Federal Territories yesterday at 1.34, followed by Pahang (1.26) and Putrajaya (1.25). Perlis still has zero active cases.

In the model shown by Dr Noor Hisham, the country’s daily cases would drop below 1,000 by end of May should the Rt be cut down to 0.8.

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However, if it rises to 1.2, the cases could soar back up to over 2,000 in the same period.

The Health Ministry has recently opted to use Rt readings in place of basic reproduction number (R0), as the former provides a more useful benchmark for the quickness of the spread of COVID-19.

This comes as yesterday, new COVID-19 cases increased slightly with 1,360 new infections reported over the last day, almost 100 more cases than was reported yesterday.

Dr Noor Hisham said Selangor topped the list again with 356 new infections, followed by Sarawak with 308 new cases, and Johor with 129. — Malay Mail