Covid-19 cases expected to drop below 1,000 in October with vaccinations

Dr Noor Hisham – Picture from The Star

By John Isaac

DAILY Covid-19 cases numbers are expected to dip below the 1,000-mark some time in October if vaccination rate is maintained at 150,000 second doses being administered daily, said Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah yesterday.

The Health Ministry director-general said these were the results of their model projection and would be achievable with vaccine efficacy averaging at 75 per cent, paired with ramped up inoculation, leading to around 80 per cent of the population vaccinated by then.

However, should vaccination rates drop to around 100,000 second doses daily with the same average efficacies, we might have to wait as long as late-November to see new daily cases drop below the 1,000 mark, he explained.

Dr Noor Hisham explained that a value of 75 per cent efficacy used within their projections was reached after taking into account the various levels of efficacies from the five different vaccines under the National Covid-19 Immunisation Program’s (NIP) current portfolio.

“We see in our estimates, if the amount of doses we can administer a day is 100,000 second doses in one area, our estimates show that case numbers will decline at the end or somewhere in mid November.

“Once we have reached about 80 per cent (vaccinated) and we can do 150,000 vaccinations a day for second dose, we project around October the cases will drop below 1,000.

“So this depends on the vaccination, which is why it is very important for us to see how we can increase the vaccination rate in the community,” he said during a press conference.

Dr Noor Hisham said this approach is being used by the ministry after a successful run recently in Labuan where cases were reduced significantly thanks to quick public health measures running parallel alongside ramped up vaccination efforts.

He said Labuan, which at one point in June reported up to 1,340 new cases a week, saw infections drop to just 26 reported yesterday after more than two weeks of intense clinical and vaccination efforts.

“Right now in Labuan, those with their second dose of Covid-19 vaccine is at 50 per cent, while those with their first dose is around 87 per cent.

“When we breach the 52 per cent (vaccinated) mark, we can see the cases, like what happened in Labuan, can be controlled in just over two weeks.

Dr Noor Hisham said the Ministry will now look to implement the proven effective method in Klang Valley, covering Kuala Lumpur, Selangor, and parts of Negri Sembilan, to curb the rising infections within the territory.

“So these methods we must look to use it in the Klang Valley where we need to increase the vaccination rates. We target for all citizens within Klang Valley to at least have had their first dose given to them by August 1.

“When we can increase the vaccination rates, the number of cases that need to be hospitalised will also reduce.

“The solution is to reduce the number of cases by using the vaccine, and we need to increase the vaccination rate; increasing the number of hospital beds is just a temporary solution to handle the sudden increase of cases,” he said.

Additionally, Dr Noor Hisham said that if the movement control order, which is now defined as Phase 1 of the National Recovery Plan, was not implemented on June 1, the country could have seen more than 13,000 new infections by June 13.

Malaysia yesterday reported its highest ever number of daily Covid-19 cases with 13, 215 new infections over the last 24 hours, with a total of 880,782 infections detected locally to date. — Malay Mail