And this is only possible if EVERYONE adheres to set SOPs.
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Local health experts believe it may take four to six weeks for Selangor to show a declining trend of new daily Covid-19 cases.
However, this is only possible if everyone complies to standard operating procedures (SOP) set by the government.
Speaking to New Straits Times, Epidemiologist Datuk Dr Awang Bulgiba Awang Mahmud said it is difficult to predict how long a conditional movement control order (CMCO) would need to be implemented before a decrease in cases could be seen.
Selangor’s RT (real-time transmission rate) is supposed to be high, but the base is not that big. So, the number of new cases is not that high yet. However, we are still not seeing more discharges than new cases on a sustained basis in Selangor.Datuk Dr Awang Bulgiba Awang Mahmud via NST
Dr Awang Bulgiba also opined that a two-week-long CMCO to track and test Sabah returnees was like “closing the stable door after the horses have bolted”.
He explained that the move was too late, as most Sabah returnees had come back last month.
About 400 have tested positive, and 60% of those came back before 27 September. This segment was probably asymptomatic and may have spread the disease to others unknowingly.Datuk Dr Awang Bulgiba Awang Mahmud via NST
He said it’s no longer possible to estimate how much time is needed to track down those who returned before home surveillance and testing orders started and the people they came into contact with.
The next two weeks are crucial
Despite this, he believes it’s not likely that Malaysia could hit a daily count of 4,500 active cases by the end of October, a possible outcome which was suggested by the Health Ministry.
Dr Awang Bulgiba explained that the next two weeks are crucial, adding that if the situation in Sabah improves, then we will not get to that 4,500 mark.
We have yet to peak in new cases and if we do within this window, plateau and achieve a downward trend over the following week, then I am hopeful we’ll see some improvement within six to eight weeks.Datuk Dr Awang Bulgiba Awang Mahmud via NST
He concluded that the issue here wasn’t SOP or the implementation of the CMCO, but compliance.
The SOP now is very strict. Any stricter will mean a return to the MCO, which is not a palatable option and unnecessary. It is compliance which is the issue. If everyone complies to the SOP, then the CMCO will work.Datuk Dr Awang Bulgiba Awang Mahmud via NST
Protect Covid-19 free zones
Meanwhile, according to epidemiology and biostatistics expert Dr Malina Osman from Universiti Putra Malaysia, the fundamental concern among the medical community was the protection of areas with no Covid-19 cases.
She explained that this was the reason why the scientific community proposed that Sabah returnees underwent 14-days of quarantine at government facilities, on top of tests and closing state borders.
However, now the community expects daily new cases to remain at three-digits for a few weeks, said Dr Malina, adding that it’s impossible to determine if this third wave of infections might bleed into the new year.
The situation in Sabah is not good. There is also a possibility of new clusters, especially due to the massive balik kampung exodus on Monday and Tuesday.Dr Malina Osman via NST
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