M’sia facing challenging third wave with emergence of new variants

KUALA LUMPUR – Malaysia is facing a more challenging third wave of COVID-19 following the emergence of several new variants that have increased the infectivity rate of the pandemic in the country, said Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.

He said the country has been recording a surge in cases over the last few weeks, with COVID-19 positive cases exceeding 4,000 a day over the past few days.

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More worrying is that there are new COVID-19 variants in Malaysia that are more violent, such as the ones found in India, the United Kingdom, Brazil, South Africa and several other countries.

The Prime Minister expects the daily COVID-19 cases to reach five figures in the next few weeks if nothing is done to prevent the spread of the new variants.

“At that time, the nation’s entire healthcare system, which is currently at a critical stage, will be paralysed like what has happened in other countries. People will die lying by the roadside as hospitals will no longer have the capability to take in any more patients,” he said in a Hari Raya Aidilfitri message aired on local television stations tonight.

According to him, the government can increase the number of beds, oxygen supply and ventilators as hospitals in the country are reaching maximum capacity, with beds in intensive care units (ICU) almost fully utilised

However, he said, no matter how many beds or other medical facilities are provided, they would not be able to cope with the number of patients warded if there is a surge in positive cases.

Muhyiddin said that areas that were previously categorised as green zones were now turning into yellow and red zones.

“The government initially took the targeted approach to curb the spread of the virus within the community. We implemented the Movement Control Order (MCO) in several states and districts. The Enhanced MCO (EMCO) was also enforced in several areas,” he said.

However, within several weeks almost all the areas in the country had changed to red zones as the virus spread rapidly, with almost 70 per cent of the infections occurring sporadically, that is transmission within the community, he added.