Don’t let your guard down, take precautions as Covid-19 cases in Malaysia surge again

The number of Covid-19 cases in Malaysia has risen sharply in April, as the general public have let their guard down, says senior physician, Prof Datuk Dr N.K.S. Tharmaseelan.

The former Malaysian Medical Association president said the numbers could spike further as people are set to travel for the upcoming Hari Raya holidays. He added that the government must continue to remind people that the coronavirus is still a real threat, even as Malaysia is well into its endemic phase, since April of last year.

“I do not want to be an alarmist, but the truth is, the number of Covid-19 cases has risen,” said Dr Tharmaseelan.

“Part of the reason is that people have been lulled into complacency, with only a handful still using masks wherever they go. Many do not practise social distancing.

“Perhaps, the government should also send out reminders to the public, highlighting the need to be careful, as the country cannot afford another lockdown.”

Dr Tharmaseelan said Malaysians knew what to do, but some are fatigued after three years of being cautious.

In January, February, and March, there were 9,916, 6,198, and 6,477 registered cases, respectively.

However, in the first eight days of April, the number of new infections stood at 5,173. The total number of cases since the coronavirus was first detected in the country is 5,056,911.

On April 6, there were 805 cases – the highest number in a single day this year. The next highest was on April 7 (797). On Feb 12, there were only 160 cases, the lowest, for a single day.

The numbers could be higher in reality, as many no longer test themselves or even update their health status in the MySejahtera mobile application.

Dr Tharmaseelan also reminded the public to take their vaccines and second booster shots.

According to the Health Ministry data, only 818,283, or 2.5 per cent of the population, have taken two booster shots, while half the population, or 16,325,164 people, have received at least one booster jab.

Of that number, 28,133,487, or 86.1 per cent, and 27,546,546, or 84.4 per cent, have received one, and two doses of the Covid-19 vaccine.

“I have taken both booster shots, but I know many who have not,” said Dr Tharmaseelan.

“I believe the vaccines have helped reduce the symptoms of Covid-19. I encourage more Malaysians to get their booster shots.

“As I said earlier, Malaysia cannot afford another lockdown. Prevention is better than cure.”

He added that history showed that when Malaysians took precautions and followed the standard operating procedures, the country had the cases under control.

“We did it before, and we can do it again. It is a matter of reminding the people that they must be vigilant,” said Dr Tharmaseelan.

“Just follow the standard operating procedures for a few months, and the cases will fall.”

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