PUTRAJAYA • More sectors including schools can reopen if Malaysia continues to see low Covid-19 figures in the first week of next month, said director-general of health Noor Hisham Abdullah.
He said while the country had recorded its lowest daily figure in over two months with only 10 new cases on Thursday, the health ministry was worried about the post-festive impact.
“By June 9, we should be able to make a decision. If the low number of cases can still be sustained by then, taking into account the festive season, we can open more of the social and education sectors. We are very cautious before we make changes to our policies,” Datuk Dr Noor Hisham said at the ministry’s daily press conference on Thursday.
In Malaysia, Hari Raya was celebrated on May 24 and 25. The Pesta Kaamatan festival will be held today and tomorrow, while Hari Gawai Dayak falls on Monday and Tuesday.
Yesterday, Malaysia recorded 103 new cases, taking the total number of infections to 7,732.
The spike was due to the discovery of new cases involving foreign workers linked to a cluster in Pedas, Negeri Sembilan, and a new cleaning services company cluster.
The country, however, saw no Covid-19 deaths for the seventh consecutive day, keeping the death toll at 115.
Malaysia’s conditional movement control order (MCO) is scheduled to end on June 9, barring any further extension by the government.
Thursday’s tally of 10 new cases was the lowest daily figure since the MCO was enforced on March 18. This followed Wednesday’s figure of 15 cases.
Dr Noor Hisham stressed on the importance of Malaysians continuing to comply with the Covid-19 standard operating procedure (SOP).
“We hope the public can work hand in hand with the ministry to comply with the SOP. Social discipline and compliance from all is very important to break the chain of the Covid-19 transmission.
“If Malaysians comply with our SOP, rest assured we can see single digits in our daily case figures,” he said.
Number of consecutive days that no Covid-19 deaths had been reported in Malaysia, keeping the death toll at 115.
According to the director-general, Malaysia’s testing capacity using the reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) method is now close to 30,000 a day.
He said the country had a maximum testing capacity of 29,789 tests for RT-PCR on Wednesday, with 26,005 tests done on that day.
“RT-PCR testing at the very beginning was only 7,000 to 8,000 a day but now it is almost 30,000,” he added.
Malaysia’s testing capacity is further boosted by the antigen rapid test kits (RTK) procured from South Korea.
“We have a choice now. We can use RT-PCR or the antigen RTK. The antigen RTK is used when we need to have a fast turnaround time of just 45 minutes to an hour where we would be able to obtain the results.
“If there is no need for a fast turnaround time, then we can use the RT-PCR,” Dr Noor Hisham said.
For the antigen RTK method, 3,708 tests were done as of Wednesday, with 50 samples having tested positive for the coronavirus.
The antigen RTK method is currently being deployed at Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA), KLIA2, as well as clinics in the interiors of Sabah and Sarawak.
THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK