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Wednesday, June 30, 2021

Indicators show 'total lockdown' losing steam as pandemic starts to worsen again


Several indicators are showing that the Covid-19 situation in the country is starting to worsen despite almost a month of "total lockdown".

The total lockdown which began on June 1 had been effective in blunting the initial rise in new Covid-19 cases but now appears to be losing steam.

Among the indicators is the infectivity rate, which has climbed to above 1.0 for the first time since June 5.

The Health Ministry reported that the infectivity rate yesterday stood at 1.04.

The infectivity rate must be kept under 1.0 for daily Covid-19 cases to decline. A sustained value of more than 1.0 will lead to an exponential growth in fresh infections.

It was as high as 1.14 in early May but was brought down through the targeted movement control order (MCO 3.0) and subsequently a total lockdown (Phase 1) beginning June 1.

The infectivity rate was 1.07 when the total lockdown started and was brought down to under 1.0 after a week.

However, the progress appeared to lose ground in mid-June as the infectivity gradually climbed up again.

Other indicators are also showing a worsening situation.

For example, the total lockdown initially managed to arrest the rise of Covid-19 patients in the intensive care unit, bringing the figure down to under 900.

However, it began to increase again in the past week, climbing back above 900.

Reduced testing

Up to yesterday, active cases have also climbed for four consecutive days.

Furthermore, the estimated infectivity rate (daily positive cases divided by daily tests) is also on the rise.

It was estimated to be at 9.46 percent yesterday, up from 8.55 percent the previous day.

In contrast, the estimated average positivity rate last week (June 20-26) was around 7.4 percent. The official figure will be released later today.

According to the Health Ministry, during the first week (May 30-June 5) of the lockdown, the positivity rate was 7.3 but this fell to 6.6 in the second week (June 6-12). However, it began to rise to 6.9 percent in the third week (June 13-19).

This was in part contributed by a lower number of tests conducted.

In the first week of the lockdown, an average of 101,889 tests a day was conducted. This fell to 89,985 in the second week and 80,165 in the third week.

The average daily test in the fourth week was 72,311. The average daily test for the first three days of this week was 65,348. - Mkini

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