New record-high COVID-19 cases due to testing backlog

With only three days to go until 4th February – the supposed end of MCO 2.0 – the daily reported number of COVID-19 cases are causing concerns to many Malaysians. After all, we are hitting record-high daily COVID-19 numbers, with more than 5,000 new cases daily being reported consecutively for the past three days. While this is certainly distressing, the government has stepped up to say that the the sudden surge in reported new cases is due to a testing backlog.

Selangor makes up the highest number of new cases

new cases nationwide update

Just yesterday on 31st January, Malaysia reported 5,298 positive cases, with 2,460 of those cases originating from Selangor alone. Before that, more than 3,000 cases were also attributed to Selangor on 30th and 29th January respectively.

Selangor has made up the bulk of positive COVID-19 cases since October last year, but because the MCO has already been implemented more than 2 weeks ago, it’s understandable that a lot of people are puzzled over the spike in numbers.

To alleviate the public’s fears, Selangor menteri besar Datuk Seri Amirudin Shari has come out to clarify that the abrupt increase in new infections were due to testing backlog.

In a report by Malay Mail, Datuk Seri Amirudin Shari disclosed that the backlog was caused by factories, prisons, and private clinics and hospitals not reporting their screening results in “real-time”, with some being delayed since up to 10 days ago.

Factories identified as potential infection clusters

Datuk Seri Amirudin Shari
Image credit: Amirudin Shari

The Selangor menteri besar also stated that the main source of new COVID-19 clusters came from factories. To rectify this issue, the state government will commence the Preventing Outbreak at Ignition Site (POIS) – a screening campaign aimed to slow and prevent the spread of new infections at factories.

Meanwhile, the JKNS (State Health Department) also plans to fine private clinics or hospitals that have failed to report new COVID-19 case numbers through the Public Health Laboratory information system on the same day.

Sudden spike in COVID-19 cases in Malaysia attributed to testing backlog

With stricter policies involving MCO 2.0, such as a ban on dining in, mass gatherings, limited opening hours, and restrictions on interstate and inter-district travelling, Malaysians are doing all they can to help curb the spread of the virus. Since the reason for the high numbers have been clarified, we hope that the number of daily reported COVID-19 cases will decrease and stabilise soon.

Read more COVID-19 updates here:

Cover image adapted from: Amirudin Shari and KEMENTERIAN KESIHATAN MALAYSIA

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