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Outbreak 2020: Malaysia Breaking 10,000 COVID19 Case Thresholds

COVID19 Outbreak Health Malaysia KKM

Malaysia is under the 2nd wave of COVID19 infection wave – from a single-digit infection at one point mostly from returning Malaysians; it has now increased by 2 digits in recent days. This is not a good trend. Image source: DG, Ministry of Health

The total number of confirmed infections in Malaysia has now exceeded 10,000 cases (as at 18th September 2020, 10,147) with 129 deaths and 9,264 recoveries todate making a total fatality rate of 1.27% and a recovery rate of 91.30%. There are still 11 patients in the ICU todate.

As at 18th September, the world saw 30,669,149 COVID19 confirmed infections with 961,651 deaths and 22,296,574 recoveries. The US still leads the global infection numbers with confirmed cases of 6,925,941 with 203,171 deaths and 4,191,894 recoveries making a total fatality rate of 2.93% and a recovery rate of 60.52%.

Despite the earlier controls, India now is leading at the 2nd place with 5,308,014 infections and 85,625 deaths making a total fatality rate of 1.61% and a recovery rate of 79.28%.

Malaysia’s neighbouring countries also seeing a jump in the number of cases with Indonesia registering 236,519 confirmed cases and 9,336 deaths, Singapore with 57,543 cases but only 27 deaths and Thailand with 3,497 cases and only 58 deaths.

COVID19 Outbreak Health Malaysia KKM

Sabah has now become a hotspot of COVID19 infections in the last few days with Lahad Datu and Tawau registering 3 digits of confirmed cases. Image source: DG, Ministry of Health 

The largest numbers of clusters are from the state of Sabah which now has 4 main clusters:-

  • Benteng Lahad Datu Cluster with 578 confirmed cases where 287 are Malaysians and 291 are foreigners (191 Filipinos and 100 Indonesians)
  • Selamat Cluster with 7 confirmed cases (all of them are Malaysians)
  • Bakau Cluster with 4 confirmed cases comprising of 2 Malaysians and 2 Filipinos
  • Pulau Cluster with 15 confirmed cases comprising of 13 Malaysians and 2 Filipinos

Unfortunately, the Benteng Lahad Datu Cluster is derived from the wrong reasons:-

The new Benteng Lahad Datu Covid-19 cluster in Sabah emerged due to the cramped and crowded condition of lockups that allowed infections to spread rapidly, the Health Ministry said today.

Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said the source of the cluster was traced back to the arrests of two undocumented migrants who were then held in police custody at the Lahad Datu police headquarters on August 24.
Both inmates tested positive for Covid-19 on August 31 and were admitted to Lahad Datu Hospital for treatment.

“It was found that physical distancing was also hard to implement. This is the main factor contributing to Covid-19 infections among inmates,” he said in a statement here.


COVID19 Outbreak Health Malaysia KKM

The situation as of 6th April 2020 was really bad with most of the states registering high number of COVID19 confirmed cases. The state of Selangor had the highest number of cases that forced lockdowns and strict movement control in place. Image source: DG, Ministry of Health

COVID19 Outbreak Health Malaysia KKM

The situation as of 20th September 2020 saw a much improved recovery from the number of COVID19 cases with only Kota Setar registering an abnormal increase, no thanks to some really stupid people breaking the self-quarantine rule and infecting others. Image source: DG, Ministry of Health

It is a surprise that for a country that have managed the outbreak very well with a series of lockdowns, travel bans and strict rules have lapsed controls that caused these new clusters.

The greater danger of overwhelming infection usually comes from outside of Malaysia but in this case, it is coming from within the country where the rules are more relaxed compared to the rules imposed on foreigners and Malaysians returning to Malaysia.

On foreigners and Malaysians entering Malaysia, effective from 7th September 2020, the authorities have taken additional steps by imposing entry restrictions into Malaysia on foreign travellers who are travelling from countries that have recorded over 150,000 COVID19 cases.

Further, a mandatory quarantine for 14 days has been imposed on all who enter Malaysian borders and the Recovery Movement Control Order been extended to the end of the year for good reasons. Internally the rules have been relaxed so that the people will get back to some sense of normality but precautions must remain to be high.

The authorities arrested 522 individuals yesterday for various recovery movement control order (RMCO) violations, said senior minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri.

Out of the 522, 342 were compounded while 180 were remanded, he said in a statement.

“Among the RMCO violations were activities in pubs/nightclubs (363), social distancing (81), not wearing face masks (36), leaving the house without reasonable grounds in the area (17), failing to provide equipment / personal details ( 12), exit from RMCO area without good reason (1), premises operating without permission (5), and arrest of foreigners without personal travel documents (7),’’ he said.


From the number of arrests and fines, it is clear that our battle to keep the number of infections low is tough and far from over. The war on the pandemic is still far away with an effective vaccine yet in sight, the implications will be far-reaching and will last for years to come.

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