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9 DEC 2020

PUTRAJAYA: The infection rate (Rt) in Malaysia for the COVID-19 pandemic is expected to stay between 0.95 to 1.05 in the next two weeks compared to 0.96 recorded today.

Health director-general, Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said for the period, the total daily cases is expected to hover between 845 to 1,700 cases if there were no increase in transmission.

"We will monitor over the next two weeks to look at the daily case development. If the cases were as expected, we can further open up the economy but if the cases increase, we will have to think and use other strategies,” he said in a media conference on the development of COVID-19 here today.

“Our worry is if the Rt rises to 1.5, the daily expected cases would be about 6.500 and if the Rt hits 2.2, as in the third wave, cases may exceed five figures,” he said.

He said even though the government has relaxed interstate and district travel, all parties are advised to avoid infection by practicing the preventive measures advocated by MOH.

Dr Noor Hisham said MOH had identified the Low-Risk Quarantine and Treatment Centres (PKRC) in several states such as Klang Valley, Negeri Sembilan and Penang as preparation to face an increase in positive cases from Category 1 and 2 who are patients with no or mild symptoms following the expansion of screening on foreign workers in factories and construction sites.

“ Should there be an increase in category 1 and 2 cases, we will place them at PKRC while for categories 3, 4 and 5, we believe our hospitals are able to cope with the number of patients,” he said.

Meanwhile, commenting on a report in a local daily recently which said the vaccine from China was not effective to treat COVID-19, Dr Noor Hisham said the matter was not true.

He said this is because China is among the countries experienced in producing vaccines including treating infectious diseases such as influenza, polio and hepatitis A.

He added that this time, the vaccine produced is a new vaccine (COVID-19) which should under several levels of clinical tests to identify its effectiveness and side effects.

He said to date, there 12 vaccines being studied and had gone through several clinical tests.

“We are still monitoring the vaccine and we are awaiting if there were submissions to MOH and we will look for the effectiveness and side effects of the vaccine,” he said. - Bernama

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