Daily Covid-19 cases stay above 5,000 as PM announces extension of Phase One curbs

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View from the top of the vaccination rooms at the vaccine distribution centre, SPICE, Penang, June 10, 2021. — Picture by Sayuti Zainudin
View from the top of the vaccination rooms at the vaccine distribution centre, SPICE, Penang, June 10, 2021. — Picture by Sayuti Zainudin

KUALA LUMPUR, June 27 — Health Director-General Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah reported 5,586 new Covid-19 cases today, still far from the threshold that would lift certain restrictions needed to get the economy back on the recovery path.

This is the fourth consecutive day the Ministry of Health has reported daily cases of above 5,000. Today’s numbers also came in just a day before the scheduled expiry of Phase One of the National Recovery Plan that is now in week four.

Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin announced this afternoon that the restrictions under the phase will continue as cases have not dipped below the 4,000-limit set in the NRP.

Selangor remains the state with the highest number of infections, accounting for nearly half of today’s cases.

Malaysia has recorded a high rate of positive cases since late May.

The reproduction number (Rt) of Covid-19 infections, despite having fallen to 0.97 as at noon, indicates the pandemic was being suppressed but at a rate that would not allow the country to begin the next recovery phase after tomorrow as planned.

Malaysia’s daily Covid-19 cases based on a Rt of 0.95 would still be above 4,000 by the end of the month and likely into the first week of July, Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said on Twitter last night.

Muhyiddin said this afternoon that the first phase of the National Recovery Plan due to expire tomorrow will be extended as the country’s Covid-19 infection numbers have not met the threshold set.

National news agency Bernama reported the prime minister as saying that daily Covid-19 cases were still above the limit of 4,000 a day, one of the three benchmarks that must be reached before the NRP could move into the second phase.

Malaysia would not exit Phase One until all three NRP indicators — new cases below 4,000 daily, “moderate” demand on intensive care capacity, and 10 per cent vaccination in the country — have been met.

Putrajaya is expected to announce additional relief measures soon, with Muhyiddin personally assuring small-medium enterprises (SMEs) that they would not be left out.

His government’s response to the pandemic has been met with backlash. Muhyiddin’s critics have called the PN administration fiscal response to the crisis conservative and stingy.

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