KOTA TINGGI (April 17): The fourth wave of COVID-19 will only happen if cases involving domestic or local transmission record zero in the current third wave, before the number of cases increases sharply the next day.
Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Adham Baba said currently the country has not entered the fourth wave of COVID-19 as we have yet to succeed in zeroing cases in the third wave.
“In the last three weeks the number of cases we have recorded has yet to show a decline during the third wave of COVID-19. It has not yet entered the fourth wave.
“The fourth wave of COVID-19 can only occur if the third wave has reached the 'baseline' or zero and then the transmission starts again,” he told Bernama when met at Surau As-Syakirin, Taman Sri Saujana, today.
Dr Adham said the probability of Malaysia experiencing a fourth wave of COVID-19 would be in the event of a decline in compliance with standard operating procedures (SOPs) among the public, resulting in the emergence of new clusters.
He said that among the factors causing the increase in cases this time were activities in early April, including weddings and gatherings, as well as sending children to schools and universities in different states.
For the record, the new daily cases rose to 2,551 yesterday and the number remains above 2,000 today at 2,331.
On July 1 last year, Malaysia managed to record the lowest daily number of COVID-19 cases, with only one new case reported during the second wave of the pandemic and no cases of infection within the country, either among Malaysians or foreigners.
Malaysia, which was hit by the third wave of COVID-19 starting on Sept 20 last year, started to record four-digit daily cases on Oct 24, at 1,228.
Meanwhile, Dr Adham, when commenting on the alleged failure to comply with SOPs, especially at Ramadan bazaars, which may lead to an increase in COVID-19 cases, said that the local authority (PBT) should constantly monitor the situation, as they have recently been authorised to impose compounds on individuals for failing to comply with the SOPs.
“However, I hope this compound is not to punish but more to educate the public against committing the offences, because we know that the Ramadan bazaar is a source of business for small traders. They have not been able to do business for a long time - if we disallow it, then it will affect the economy.
“Hence, apart from the local authority, the COVID-19 Eradicating Agents (ABC-19) must be in the area too, including the People’s Volunteer Corps (RELA), the Royal Malaysia Police (PDRM) and the Ministry of Health (MOH) staff,” he said.
In the meantime, Dr Adham said that the public must continue to work together to fulfil their responsibility to protect themselves and the community, as well as to continue to empower the community through the ABC-19 programme, which is the government's latest initiative to ensure that the community is protected from the pandemic.
He said through this approach, local leaders and community members would participate in education programmes and enforcement of SOPs as well as COVID-19 prevention compliance efforts.