After 99 days of depressing, gloomy or at best “not bad news”, it is great to have some good news at last on the Covid-19 pandemic front on the last day of Ismail Sabri’s first hundred days as the ninth Prime Minister of Malaysia.
Yesterday, Malaysia recorded 4,239 daily new Covid-19 cases, the lowest in 196 days since May 16, and 29 daily Covid-19 deaths – second lowest in over six months.
I had hoped that at least by the first 100 Days of Ismail Sabri as the ninth Prime Minister of Malaysia, we can at least undo the damage of the proclamation of emergency by the Muhyiddin Yassin Government on January 11, 2021, when we had 2,232 daily new Covid-19 cases and four Covid-19 deaths, with the cumulative totals of 138,224 Covid-19 cases and 555 Covid-19 deaths.
When Ismail Sabri took his oath of office as the ninth Prime Minster of Malaysia on August 21, there was a ten-fold increase in the daily new Covid-19 cases to 22,262 cases from the date of declaration of Emergency and an increase by more than 50 times in number of daily Covid-19 casualties to 223 Covid-19 deaths on that day.
We had not won the war against the Covid-19 pandemic, and if the crazy rate increases of cases and deaths had continued, at the end of Ismail Sabri’s first 100 days yesterday, we might have cumulative totals of five million Covid-19 cases and some 100,000 Covid-19 deaths.
This was one main reason why I supported the confidence-supply-reform (CSR) memorandum of understanding (MOU) between Ismail Sabri and the Pakatan Harapan leaders, for when the country is faced with an existential threat involving millions of Covid-19 cases and tens of thousands of human lives, Malaysians must put their differences aside to protect lives, livelihoods and the national fabrics of Malaysian society.
We have ended the worst of the Covid-19 pandemic but we have not yet won the war against it.
Instead of cumulative totals of five million Covid-19 cases and 100,000 Covid-19 deaths, the cumulative totals at the end of the first 100 days of Ismail Sabri as the ninth Prime Minister was 2,623,816 Covid-19 cases and 30,309 Covid-19 deaths – which means the CSR MOU had prevented some 2.4 million Covid-19 cases and saved the lives of 60,000-70,000 lives.
From a losing position, the CSR MOU has turned the tides of defeat to end the crazy increase of Covid-19 case and Covid-19 deaths but we have not won the war against Covid-19 pandemic by at least returning to the pre-Emergency days before January 11, 2021.
For 99 days, we descended from the peak of daily new cases of 24,599 cases on 26th August and the peak of 592 daily Covid-19 deaths on Sept. 11, 2021 but the process of reduction of daily new cases and daily deaths was too agonisingly slow – as for six weeks, we were struggling in the 4,500 – 6,500 region for daily new cases.
On the last day of Ismail Sabri’s first 100 days as the ninth Prime Minister, Malaysia has broken the jinx of being trapped in the 4,500 – 6,500 region for daily new Covid-19 cases and recorded 4,239 daily new cases.
Hopefully, this will mark Malaysia gaining firmer grip of the Covid-19 pandemic situation in the second 100 days of Ismail Sabri as Prime Minister, where we can not only bring Malaysia to pre-emergency situation but end the longest Covid-19 wave in the world in Malaysia which had lasted 14 months since the Sabah general election last year.
We must look forward to the day where the daily increase of new Covid-19 cases is in double-digit figure while the daily Covid-19 fatalities are in single-digit figure.
Indonesia yesterday recorded 264 daily new cases and one Covid-19 death, while India recorded 6,226 daily new cases and 20 Covid-19 deaths.
Indonesia had been recording daily Covid-19 new cases in triple digit numbers for seven weeks since Oct. 14 and double-digit numbers for daily Covid-19 deaths for eight weeks since Oct. 3.
Now Indonesia is recording Covid-19 deaths in single-digit number.
When will Malaysia be able to do so?
This question becomes more urgent with reports that a new Covid variant, Omicron, is spreading around the world although it is not yet clear whether Omicron is more transmissible than other variants or if it causes more severe disease.