Should interstate travel be allowed for Hari Raya? Dr Noor Hisham’s tweet says it all

Yesterday, Senior Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said that the government will ask the Ministry of Health to make an early announcement whether to allow interstate travel during the Hari Raya season. The Health Director-General Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah has posted a tweet to remind everyone about the current COVID-19 situation.

At the moment, Malaysia is still facing challenges in bringing down the infectivity rate. While the number of new daily COVID-19 cases reported have been hitting under the 2,000 mark, the country still struggles to bring the total remaining active cases below 14,000. After recording more new cases than recoveries for 3 straight days, the current total active cases remaining has risen above 15,000 as of yesterday.

Although we have managed to significantly bring down the number of cases following the 3rd wave, there’s now an indication that we might be facing a new 4th wave of infections. This was also a concern that was raised by Health Minister Dr Adham Baba last week.

As shown in the provided chart, the number of weekly cases has jumped from 8,968 in Week 13 to 9,507 in Week 4. Looking at the Rt infectivity rate chart, it appears that Malaysia is not only failing at reducing the infectivity rate to 0.8 but it seems to be hitting slightly above forecasted trajectory for non-compliance to SOP. If the national infectivity rate reaches 1.2, Malaysia could potentially report over 2,000 new cases daily by next month.

According to Dr Noor Hisham, the national Rt value as of 10th April is at 1.03 and there are currently 10 states that record infectivity values above 1.0. Terengganu currently has the highest infectivity rate at 1.53, followed by Putrajaya at 1.32, Sabah at 1.18, Kelantan at 1.12 and Sarawak with 1.10.

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Last month, the Health D-G has said that a total of 3,170 cases were recorded from 1st January to 21st March which were linked to interstate travel. At the moment, interstate travel is still not allowed except for green travel bubble which are limited to vehicles of agencies that are registered with the Tourism, Arts and Culture Ministry.

The government is also considering the option to allow interstate travel for those who have completed their vaccination. As of 10th April, a total of 385,251 individuals have received two doses.


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Alexander Wong