Malaysia reports another record 17,405 new Covid-19 cases

Authorities say public need not be alarmed by spike as more are self-testing

PUTRAJAYA: Malaysia reported another record 17,405 new Covid-19 cases yesterday, taking the country's total to 1,061,476.

There were 143 deaths, taking the toll to 8,551.

But health director-general Noor Hisham Abdullah said 97.9 per cent (17,031) of the new cases showed mild or no symptoms.

His deputy, Dr Chong Chee Kheong, said the public should not be alarmed by the rise in daily cases over the next few days as more people are being encouraged to perform self-testing using rapid test kits.

Dr Chong's reassurance came amid the Health Ministry's sanction for more people to make use of self-testing kits.

"As we encourage more self-testing and RTK-Ag (antigen) use, we can expect the number of cases to rise in the next few days. Do not be alarmed by this. We need to identify as many cases as possible to reduce transmission in the community.

"As more of these positive cases and their contacts are isolated and quarantined, cases will gradually come down in the weeks to come," he said in a statement yesterday.

Describing the virus situation as "the worst that we have faced as a community and health service in our generation", Dr Chong said the ministry has not given up and will persevere to offer the best it can.

On why the numbers are still rising in the Greater Klang Valley despite the ramp-up in vaccinations, Dr Chong said it is important to know that the size of the outbreak is far larger than the numbers detected each day.

"Many asymptomatic or pre-symptomatic individuals, who are not aware of their infection, are spreading the virus.

"Remember that the vaccine effectiveness is best two weeks after the second dose, so this takes time."

He also said the highly infectious Delta variant is a significant contributor to the rise in cases .

"We recognise, from the experience of nations with high vaccination rates, that infections can still occur due to the Delta variant, although hospitalisations and severe infections are significantly reduced," he said. - THE STAR