Malaysia anticipates cases to peak this month as vaccines start to show effect

04-Aug-2021 Intellasia | StraitsTimes | 5:02 AM Print This Post

Malaysia expects to reach the peak of its record-breaking Covid-19 cases this month before the impact of the mass vaccination programme starts to show.

Ahead of the expected peak in infections, the federal territory of Labuan as well as the states of Sarawak and Perlis will move to the third phase of Malaysia’s Covid-19 exit plan tomorrow, prime minister Muhyiddin Yassin said in a Facebook post yesterday.

The third phase allows most businesses to operate while retaining some Covid-19 protocols.

The three places have seen their number of cases falling recently due to high vaccination rates.

Officials and leaders expect the same to happen in other parts of the country. “I think we are getting to the peak (of infections), especially in Klang Valley. We will get to the peak in another week or more and then hopefully we will see the infection numbers changing,” said Coordinating minister for Immunisation Khairy Jamaluddin yesterday.

After ramping up vaccinations in July, Klang Valley the worst-hit region has now seen 96.7 per cent of its adult population receive at least one dose of vaccine.

Klang Valley consisting of much of Selangor and the capital Kuala Lumpur is home to more than seven million people. The region used to account for 70 per cent to 80 per cent of new cases in Malaysia. Ithad fewer than half of the total cases yesterday. In Labuan, over 80 per cent of adults are fully inoculated, resulting in daily cases dropping from the hundreds to single digits.

Sarawak has fully vaccinated 66 per cent of its residents. Deaths have more than halved in the state.

On average, over 80 per cent of daily new cases in Malaysia are unvaccinated. For those with “vaccination history”, the health ministry does not specify the level of vaccination. Full efficacy of vaccines kicks in two weeks after the second dose.

Epidemiologists said a decline in cases would be more visible near the end of August and beyond.

“A sufficiently large proportion of the population needs to have received two doses and we need to wait at least two weeks in order for optimal immunity. This is not likely to happen soon enough for new cases to show consistent declines within the next one month,” said Professor Datuk Awang Bulgiba Awang Mahmud, chair of the Covid-19 Epidemiological Analysis and Strategies Task Force.

Universiti Putra Malaysia epidemiologist Malina Osman told The Straits Times: “For Selangor and Klang Valley areas, I would expect the cases will start declining once the full vaccination rate is 50 per cent and more; but some states like Johor, Melaka, Kedah, Kelantan, Sabah and Terengganu will show more new cases or clusters while their vaccination rates are still relatively lower.”

Khairy expects 40 per cent of Malaysia’s adults to be fully vaccinated before August 31. Currently, the rate stands at almost 30 per cent.

PM Muhyiddin has said that much of the country could reopen for full economic activity by October.

Malaysia posted 15,764 cases yesterday and a record of 219 deaths.


Category: Malaysia

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