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Western Pac Surveill Response J ; 12(3): 71-76, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1497709


PROBLEM: The novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic adversely affected the preparation of Malaysia's National Health and Morbidity Survey for 2020 because conducting it would expose data collectors and participants to an increased risk of infection. CONTEXT: The survey is nationally representative and community based and is conducted by the Institute for Public Health, part of the National Institutes of Health, to generate health-related evidence and to support the Malaysian Ministry of Health in policy-making. Its planned scope for 2020 was the seroprevalence of communicable diseases such as hepatitis B and C. ACTION: Additional components were added to the survey to increase its usefulness, including COVID-19 seroprevalence and facial anthropometric studies to ensure respirator fit. The survey's scale was reduced, and data collection was changed from including only face-to-face interviews to mainly self-administered and telephone interviews. The transmission risk to participants was reduced by screening data collectors before the survey and fortnightly thereafter, using standard droplet and contact precautions, ensuring proper training and monitoring of data collectors, and implementing other administrative infection prevention measures. OUTCOME: Data were collected from 7 August to 11 October 2020, with 5957 participants recruited. Only 4 out of 12 components of the survey were conducted via face-to-face interview. No COVID-19 cases were reported among data collectors and participants. All participants were given their hepatitis and COVID-19 laboratory test results; 73 participants with hepatitis B and 14 with hepatitis C who had been previously undiagnosed were referred for further case management. DISCUSSION: Preparing and conducting the National Health and Morbidity Survey during the COVID-19 pandemic required careful consideration of the risks and benefits, multiple infection prevention measures, strong leadership and strong stakeholder support to ensure there were no adverse events.

COVID-19 , Pandemics , Humans , Malaysia/epidemiology , Morbidity , Pandemics/prevention & control , Risk Assessment , SARS-CoV-2 , Seroepidemiologic Studies , United States
Epidemics ; 37: 100517, 2021 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1482585


INTRODUCTION: As of 3rd June 2021, Malaysia is experiencing a resurgence of COVID-19 cases. In response, the federal government has implemented various non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) under a series of Movement Control Orders and, more recently, a vaccination campaign to regain epidemic control. In this study, we assessed the potential for the vaccination campaign to control the epidemic in Malaysia and four high-burden regions of interest, under various public health response scenarios. METHODS: A modified susceptible-exposed-infectious-recovered compartmental model was developed that included two sequential incubation and infectious periods, with stratification by clinical state. The model was further stratified by age and incorporated population mobility to capture NPIs and micro-distancing (behaviour changes not captured through population mobility). Emerging variants of concern (VoC) were included as an additional strain competing with the existing wild-type strain. Several scenarios that included different vaccination strategies (i.e. vaccines that reduce disease severity and/or prevent infection, vaccination coverage) and mobility restrictions were implemented. RESULTS: The national model and the regional models all fit well to notification data but underestimated ICU occupancy and deaths in recent weeks, which may be attributable to increased severity of VoC or saturation of case detection. However, the true case detection proportion showed wide credible intervals, highlighting incomplete understanding of the true epidemic size. The scenario projections suggested that under current vaccination rates complete relaxation of all NPIs would trigger a major epidemic. The results emphasise the importance of micro-distancing, maintaining mobility restrictions during vaccination roll-out and accelerating the pace of vaccination for future control. Malaysia is particularly susceptible to a major COVID-19 resurgence resulting from its limited population immunity due to the country's historical success in maintaining control throughout much of 2020.

COVID-19 , Epidemiological Models , Humans , Malaysia/epidemiology , SARS-CoV-2 , Vaccination