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Malaysia may face fourth wave of infections after Melaka election

PETALING JAYA In most countries, like Malaysia, where the vaccination rate has reached 90 per cent, the number of Covid-19 cases has gone down.

But cases have returned in some instances, in a U-shaped curve, said Dr Chow Ting Soo, an infectious diseases consultant at Penang Hospital.

"This is because of the emergence of stronger variants and variants that are more highly transmissible.

"Besides, immunity conferred by the vaccine will wane after three to six months, which means that even post-vaccination, breakthrough infections are anticipated and expected.

"This is what we are preparing to face, as the re-emergence of cases or the so-called fourth wave is expected," he said.

Dr Chow added that if this were to happen, there is a worry the healthcare system would collapse and possibly impact the economy, and therefore, booster shots are necessary.

Dr Chow, who is also Penang state's infection control coordinator, said the booster jabs are essential towards flattening the curve, slowing the infection rate and keeping the healthcare system from collapsing.

On Tuesday, Malaysian Deputy Health Minister Aaron Ago Dagang said the government was prepared to face the eventuality of a fourth wave of Covid-19 infections in the country, following the Melaka state election last Saturday.

He said the effects would be detected only after 10 to 14 days.

ANOTHER SURGE

Virologist Kumitaa Theva Das said if the country's fourth wave were to kick in, there would be another surge in death and hospitalisation rates.

"In Europe, the spike in cases has primarily occurred among the elderly (who received their vaccine shots much earlier in the year) and among kids who are not eligible for inoculation," she said, adding that the government did not want this to occur in Malaysia.

"According to data on CovidNow, there has been an increase in deaths in Kedah, Melaka, Penang, Negeri Sembilan and Terengganu in the past two weeks. There has also been an increase in hospitalisation in Johor, Kelantan, Pahang and Penang, and an increase in cases in Kedah, Kelantan and Melaka." - THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

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