Dr Noor Hisham: Covid-19 3rd wave possible

PUTRAJAYA: There is a possibility of a third wave of Covid-19 infections in Malaysia if people fail to comply with the standard operating procedures (SOP).

Health director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said it was crucial to take preventive measures before the country recorded an exponential spike in cases.

“We recorded 120 cases (between July 19 and July 25) and the emergence of new clusters. The new clusters are like burning embers and those who do not follow the SOP are akin to fuel.”

He said a combination of these two ‘elements’ of new clusters and people who flout the SOP will lead to an exponential spike in cases.

“In the early stage, we can still control these ‘burning embers’ from mixing with this ‘fuel’.

“We can do so by wearing a face mask and by practicing social distancing, which have been proven to break the Covid-19 chain by 60 per cent and 65 per cent, respectively.

“Practice these measures to protect ourselves from being infected. During, the Recovery Movement Control Order, the Health Ministry allowed Malaysians to return to daily life on condition that they adhere to the SOP.

“If they fail to do so, it is not impossible to have a third wave,” he said in his daily Covid-19 press conference here today.

Meanwhile, Dr Noor Hisham said the Health Ministry was also looking into testing airline passengers who use Malaysia or the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) as a transit point.

He said the ministry was concerned about the issue as a number of infection cases were rising in other countries.

“We will discuss the matter with airline companies. Maybe one condition (we could look into) is to have a passenger take a Covid-19 test before they board the plane. If we can implement that, it will prevent positive cases to board the flight.

“We have one case where a student flew from Melbourne, Australia, to Kuching, and this student was on transit at KLIA. The student infected two passengers who sat next to him.

“So, we will talk to airline companies on implementing the matter and for the screening costs to be borne by the passengers,” he said.

When asked on the Cambodian government’s temporary ban on all flights from Malaysia to curb the spread of Covid-19, which comes into effect on Aug 1, following some cases of infection among air passengers who had transited in KLIA while en route to Cambodia, Dr Noor Hisham said these people were not infected in Malaysia.

“We have an understanding with our counterpart, if the cases were infected in Malaysia, Cambodian authorities will contact us for verification.

“All cases were transiting at KLIA before flying to Cambodia. They were from countries such as Russia, Saudi Arabia and Egypt,” he said.

It was reported that out of 108 passengers who recently tested positive for Covid-19 after arriving in Cambodia using Malaysia and Indonesia as a transit point, 55 of them had used Malaysia as a transit point.


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