Malaysia will overtake Philippines at the end of May and be the second nation in ASEAN after Indonesia in having the most cumulative total of Covid-19 cases if we go by the Health Ministry’s projections

The Ministry of Health has answered my question as to whether Malaysia will overtake Philippines and become the second country in ASEAN after Indonesia in having the most cumulative total of Covid-19 cases.

Yesterday, the Health Ministry Director-General Dr. Noor Hisham Abdullah posted two charts on Twitter which simulated possible scenarios for the country if it failed to bring down the Covid-19 infectivity rate or R-naught (RO).

From the charts, the number of new Covid-19 cases in Malaysia can increase up to 8,000 a day by the end of May if the country's coronavirus infectivity rate continues at 1.1.

Noor Hisham said in his Tweet: "Take attention of the Covid-19 daily number of cases, and the projection of cases from Jan 4 to May 31, 2021 with R-naught of 1.1 and 1.2."

With an R-naught of 1.1, the MOH projected that Malaysia could record daily cases of 5,000 by the second week of April. If that continued, the number would rise to 8,000 by the fourth week of May.

With an R-naught of 1.2, the MOH expects that the spike in daily cases would come even sooner in Malaysia.

In both scenarios, Malaysia would have overtaken Philippines by the end of May in having more cumulative total of Covid-19 cases and will be among the top 30-40 countries in the world in having the most cumulative total of Covid-19 cases.

Philippines with 482,083 Covid-19 cases is now ranked No. 30 while Indonesia with 797,723 Covid-19 cases is ranked No. 20 in the world among countries with the most cumulative total of Covid-19 cases, while Malaysia will be the third ASEAN country with the most number of Covid-19 cases as it will overtake Myanmar’s position which is ranked at No. 69.

Yesterday, Malaysia had 128,465 Covid-19 cases and 521 fatalities, with a daily increase of 3,027 new infections, while Myanmar had 128,772 Covid-19 cases and 2,799 fatalities, with a daily increase of 594 new infections.

Worldwide, the Covid-19 pandemic is on a surge, registering a new global record of daily increase of 820,796 new infections yesterday, the second time daily increase of Covid-19 cases have crossed the 800,000 mark (the first time was on the previous day, when it registered a new daily increase of 803,637 cases) – with the United States registering a daily increase of 274,190 Covid-19 cases.

Global Covid-19 cases now exceed 88.5 million while global Covid-19 fatalities exceed 1.9 million.

I call on the Health Ministry to pay heed to increasing calls, especially from the private health sector, for a review of the overall Covid-19 combat strategy.

Dr. Mohamed Rafick Khan, in his blog “BATTLING COVID 19 – ARE WE DEFEATED?” has called for a permanent external audit committee to be formed to review regularly the status of infection and the capabilities and capacity of the government in managing this epidemic.

He wrote: “This is not a government problem only. It’s everybody’s problem, The political polemics must stop. It starts with the Government extending an olive branch to the opposition to form a bipartisan committee to look at the issues.”

The ball is in the government’s court.

Lim Kit Siang MP for Iskandar Puteri