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Friday, January 22, 2021

3000 Case Daily For 8 Straight Day

PUTRAJAYA: The number of new daily Covid-19 cases in Malaysia remained above the 3,000-mark for the eighth day in a row, with Kuala Lumpur topping the list of states for most number of infections.

Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said with the 3,170 new cases, Covid-19 cases in the country now stood at 172,549 cumulatively.

“Kuala Lumpur reported the highest increase with 576 infections.

“Out of this total, 310 or 56.9% were from identified clusters as well as cases detected from active screening of close contacts, ” he said.

Selangor, which has been the state with the most cases recently, reported 545 new infections yesterday, or 17.2% of the country’s total.

In the same 24-hour span, 12 people died due to Covid-19. They were all Malaysians aged between 47 and 84.

Two of them – an 82-year-old man and an 81-year-old woman – were declared “dead on arrival” at Hospital Lahad Datu in Sabah.

Malaysia’s Covid-19 death toll is now at 642.

Dr Noor Hisham said a total of 3,170 patients were discharged, bringing the number of recoveries in the country to 130,152.

“Nationwide, there are 41,755 active cases that are being treated at hospitals and quarantine centres.

“Of that total, 260 patients are in intensive care, with 103 on ventilator support, ” he said in his daily briefing here yesterday.

Dr Noor Hisham added that the Health Ministry had identified 16 new Covid-19 clusters nationwide, of which 11 are linked to workplaces.

At present, the country has 327 active clusters.

On another matter, Dr Noor Hisham has suggested that a maximum of 20 people be allowed at funerals to prevent clusters such as the Pasai cluster in Sarawak and last year’s Tawar cluster in Kedah from recurring.

“We realise that gatherings such as funerals or weddings have the potential to spread Covid-19 if someone who is positive is in attendance. This is what we have seen with the two big clusters of Pasai and Tawar.

“We understand that funerals are a sensitive issue, due to cultural and emotional reasons.

“What is more important is we should limit funeral gatherings to 20 people. Such gatherings also need approval from the police, ” he said.

Dr Noor Hisham added that it was very important for attendees of such gatherings to comply with Covid-19 guidelines at all times.

The Pasai cluster is currently Sarawak’s biggest cluster with 981 confirmed infections and one death.

The cluster originated from a 32-year-old woman who travelled from Johor on Dec 29 to attend her father’s funeral in Sibu.

Saturday, January 16, 2021

World Largest Covid-19 Vaccination Program

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will launch the "world's largest" vaccination campaign on Saturday as the populous nation tries to bring the COVID-19 pandemic under control starting with two locally-manufactured shots.

Modi will address healthcare workers through video conferencing but will not immediately take the vaccine himself as India is initially prioritising nurses, doctors and others on the front line. 

On the first day, around 100 people will be voluntarily vaccinated in each of the 3,006 centres in the country, the government said this week, calling it the start of the biggest such campaign in the world.

"This will be the world’s largest vaccination programme covering the entire length and breadth of the country," Modi's office said in a statement this week.

India, the world's most populous country after China, has said it may not need to vaccinate all of its 1.35 billion people to create herd immunity. Still, covering even half its population will make it one of the largest immunisation programmes in the world, even if countries like the United States were to vaccinate every resident.

Beneficiaries, however, will not be able to choose between the Oxford University/AstraZeneca vaccine and a government-backed, homegrown one from Bharat Biotech whose efficacy is not known. Both are being produced locally.

India, which has reported the highest number of coronavirus infections after the United States, wants to vaccinate around 300 million people with two doses in the first six to eight months of the year.

Some 10.5 million people in India have been infected with the coronavirus, more than 151,000 of whom have died, though the rate of cases has come down since a mid-September peak.

First to get the vaccine will be 30 million health and other frontline workers, such as those in sanitation and security, followed by about 270 million people older than 50 or deemed high-risk because of pre-existing medical conditions.

Modi, 70, has said politicians will not be considered frontline workers.

On Saturday, he is also expected to formally inaugurate the government's online platform Co-WIN that will provide information on vaccine stocks, storage temperature and keep track of beneficiaries.

The government has already bought 11 million doses of the AstraZeneca COVISHIELD shot, produced by the Serum Institute of India, and 5.5 million of Bharat Biotech's COVAXIN.

COVISHIELD is 72% effective, according to the Indian drug regulator, while Bharat Biotech says COVAXIN's last-stage trial results are expected by March.

Monday, January 11, 2021

Three Week Lockdown In Cyprus

Cyprus entered a three-week lockdown on Sunday in its latest bid to curb the coronavirus pandemic.

Under the lockdown, people are required to stay at home, and shopping malls, department stores, retail shops and restaurants should remain closed.

The streets of the capital Nicosia and other cities, which normally throb with life, were deserted at midday on Sunday, and highways were empty of cars. 

Policemen were deployed on the streets to check people's written or SMS passes, with which they are permitted to go out for a short time twice a day for buying essentials like food, or for physical exercise.

This is the second time similar measures have come into force, the previous one being from mid-March to the third week of May last year.

The first wave of the coronavirus pandemic was beaten effectively in the country. However, a second and more aggressive one started after airports were opened to international flights in early July.

The lockdown was announced on Friday by Minister of Health Constantinos Ioannou. He noted that a wave of infections and increased hospital admissions brought the public health system on the verge of its capacity in caring for COVID-19 patients.

Public health officials said they are preparing two hospitals in the cities of Larnaca and Paphos to accept coronavirus patients after almost all beds in dedicated COVID-19 hospitals were taken up.

The Ministry of Health announced on Saturday six more coronavirus deaths, which brought the death toll to 147. The country with a population of less than one million has registered a total of 27,071 COVID-19 cases since the pandemic broke out.
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