Workplace clusters mushroom even as more people get jabs

PETALING JAYA: Among the highlights for Malaysia in the past week is the increasing pace of daily vaccinations which hovered above 200,000 as the national Covid-19 immunisation programme moves further ahead.

However, workplace clusters continued to be a menace, making up the majority of clusters reported daily as the government bears criticism for failing to implement the lockdown more tightly.

Despite the decline in cases, the number of Covid-19 deaths remained high with 536 recorded in the past week. The death toll stood at 4,884 yesterday.

There was some good news with 40,688 recoveries outnumbering the 37,347 new infections the whole week, while a total of 60,646 active cases are still being treated.

A total of 151 new Covid-19 clusters had also been detected this week, while the infection rate declined slightly from an R0 of 0.97 at the start of the week to 0.96 yesterday.

As of June 25, a total of seven million vaccine doses have been administered, up from 5.51 million at the start of the week.

FMT now takes a brief look at the major headline news on Covid-19 over the past week.

Sporadic, asymptomaticy cases on the rise

Sporadic asymptomatic Covid-19 cases were reported to be still on the rise in the Klang Valley, despite daily infections dropping to around 5,000.

Some 398,846 of 578,105 Covid-19 infections reported from the beginning of the year to June 19 were sporadic cases.

Health director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah warned that this was concerning as these patients did not exhibit symptoms but could still infect the people around them if SOPs were not observed.

Rising numbers of clusters at workplaces has led to anger about ineffective lockdown measures. (Bernama pic)

Noor Hisham pleaded with the general public to be vigilant in complying with SOPs with the rise in sporadic cases, repeating his clarion call to “Stay at home”.

Delta Plus variant emerges

A new and more severe mutation of the Delta Covid-19 variant emerged this week, with India categorising it as a “variant of concern” and tightening movement restrictions in the country.

On June 25, India recorded the third death from the new variant while some 48 cases of the mutation had been confirmed. The variant had also been detected in the US, UK and Russia, among others.

Meanwhile, a Chinese disease control researcher said two of China’s vaccines were found to be less effective against the Delta variant, although it still offers protection.

Without naming the two vaccines, Feng Zijian said they fell into the category of inactivated vaccines, which contain “killed” coronavirus that cannot replicate in human cells. Inactivated vaccines include the ones produced by Sinovac Biotech and Sinopharm.

Cops bust ring selling Covid-19 vaccines

On June 24, Kuala Lumpur police busted a syndicate selling Covid-19 vaccines to the public, with three people arrested so far.

The suspects had randomly called members of the public to offer two doses of vaccines for RM420. Vaccination is free-of-charge for recipients under the national immunisation programme.

The arrests followed a call by the Malaysian Medical Association (MMA) for authorities to conduct a full investigation into allegations of Covid-19 vaccines being sold by a non-healthcare private company to private groups.

Now, not just Pfizer for pregnant, breastfeeding moms

The government announced that the AstraZeneca and Sinovac Covid-19 vaccines were now suitable for pregnant and breastfeeding mothers between 14-33 weeks of gestation.

Previously, pregnant and breastfeeding mothers were only allowed to be given the Pfizer jabs.

Those beyond the gestation period of 33 weeks could still be vaccinated after consultation with a doctor, while others with concerns should also speak to their respective doctors.

7 million vaccination jabs

More than seven million Covid-19 vaccine doses had been administered as of June 25, with 7,039,072 jabs given out nationwide since the immunisation campaign began.

As of June 25, a total of 5,072,714 people have received their first dose while 1,966,358 people got their second jabs. Meanwhile, a record-high of 268,604 vaccine doses were administered on June 24.

Malaysia’s immunisation rate has tremendously improved of late, with the arrival of more vaccines and setting up of mega vaccination centres helping in this respect.

By : Nicholas Chung – FMT

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