Adham: No delays, vaccination programme may even end ahead of schedule

The National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme is well on track and may even be completed earlier than scheduled, says Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Adham Baba as he rubbished a potential delay due to vaccine shortage. He said Malaysia would receive 3.52 million doses of vaccines from Pfizer, Sinovac and AstraZeneca this month alone, which would benefit 1.25 million people. On Wednesday, Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said the vaccination plan might be delayed as pharmaceutical companies were prioritising rich countries. He, however, said there would be more slots for vaccination from June as richer countries had already inoculated most of their citizens. Dr Adham said 2,448 private clinics had registered with the ministry to help with the programme, with 1,934 having signed the letter of agreement while 37 had started work.He said those who get their vaccine jabs at these private facilities would not be charged. (The Star)

Covid-19 screenings to begin in Selangor

Mass screening to detect Covid-19 infections among local communities will start in Selangor from tomorrow. Selangor Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Amirudin Shari announced earlier this week that screening would be held at all 56 state constituencies. The screening would be conducted by Selcare, which is the administrator of the Selangor state government’s healthcare programme Skim Peduli Sihat. Selcare manager Mohd Noor Md Nasir said the exercise would first start in the Hulu Langat district, with the Kajang constituency followed by the remaining constituencies in the same district. “We will be carrying out the exercise over 28 days, screening two constituencies daily,” he said. Concentration would be held at hotspots in the respective constituencies. Selcare was expecting to screen 500 people at every constituency. The state government has allocated a budget of RM6mil to screen 50,000 Selangor residents. Those who were waiting for the results must wear a mask at home and isolate themselves. (The Star)

Potential Covid-19 hotspots to be revealed as HIDE takes effect

A list of potential Covid-19 hotspots will be published by the government starting today, as the movement control order is reimposed in certain states. The Health Ministry is expected to reveal the Hotspots Identification for Dynamic Engagement (HIDE) system and the list of potential hotspots that it predicts. Minister Datuk Seri Dr Adham Baba said more information would be revealed today. While Malaysians are glad for the system, businesses are worried that such a list will incite fear and panic. Federation of Malaysian Consumers Associations (Fomca) president Datuk Dr Marimuthu Nadason said it’s a good move to have the system in place, but noted that the system must be managed well to ensure the right data and information were provided, or it could be damaging to businesses. The early warnings issued by HIDE uses big data analytics and artificial intelligence through contact tracing to predict possible outbreaks. However, Khairy emphasised that these hotspots were not the same as the Covid-19 cluster locations announced by the Health Ministry. (The Star)

Mitsui & Co weighs buyout of US$11bil hospital group IHH Healthcare

Mitsui & Co is exploring a deal to take Malaysian hospital group IHH Healthcare Bhd private, according to people with knowledge of the matter. According to sources, some private equity firms have approached the Japanese trading house to team up on the potential transaction to buy out IHH’s other shareholders. Another source said Mitsui has reached out to Khazanah Nasional Bhd, IHH’s second-largest shareholder. IHH, which is listed on the stock exchanges of Malaysia and Singapore, has a market value of RM49bil (US$12bil). Representatives for IHH and Mitsui declined to comment. Mitsui raised its stake in IHH in 2018 to 32.9%, after buying additional shares in the hospital operator from Malaysian sovereign wealth fund Khazanah. The Japanese firm is now the single biggest shareholder in the company, followed by the Kuala Lumpur-based state investment firm with 26%. (The Star)

Environment Ministry approves four river basin projects in N. Sembilan worth RM32.26m

The Environment and Water Ministry (Kasa) has approved four river basin projects in Negri Sembilan involving an allocation of RM32.26 million. Deputy Environment and Water Minister Datuk Ahmad Masrizal Muhammad said RM25 million is allocated for phase four of Sungai Linggi Integrated River Basin Development Project currently under construction. Kasa is also allocating RM2.24 million under the Program Strategik Memperkasa Rakyat dan Ekonomi (Pemerkasa) for river rehabilitation to alleviate flood risks in the state. Ahmad Masrizal said the allocation was approved after taking into consideration the severe floods in Negri Sembilan especially in November last year which affected the districts of Seremban and Port Dickson. (Malay Mail)

Pavilion KL shopping mall owner Desmond Lim plans takeover of Subang Airport

Businessman Tan Sri Desmond Lim is said to be planning a takeover of Subang Airport worth RM3.7 billion. News portal The Vibes reported that Lim — the largest shareholder in his listed construction and property development group WCT Holdings Bhd — will use its subsidiary company Subang Skypark Sdn Bhd (SSSB) to acquire and operate the airport until 2092. Lim acquired a 60% stake in SSBB in 2018 with the intentions of redeveloping the land surrounding Sultan Abdul Aziz Shah Airport in Subang. The report said this new proposal was presented to the Transport Ministry at an estimated RM3.7 billion of initial investment, of which RM1.7 billion will be for the passenger terminal and executive jet terminal set to open in 2027. The remaining RM2 billion will be spent over the next 10 years on the airport city. (Malay Mail)

Global COVID-19 death toll more than double official estimates

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused nearly 6.9 million deaths across the world, more than double the number officially recorded, a new analysis from the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) estimated. Deaths go unreported as most countries only record those that occur in hospitals or of patients with a confirmed infection. The reported COVID-19 mortality is strongly related to the levels of testing in a country, the IHME said. It estimated total COVID-19 deaths by comparing anticipated deaths from all causes based on pre-pandemic trends with the actual number of all deaths caused during the pandemic. In the United States, the analysis estimated COVID-19 related deaths of more than 905,000 while official figures from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Wednesday estimated 575,491 deaths. The report only includes deaths caused directly by the virus, not deaths caused by the pandemic’s disruption to healthcare systems and communities. (The Star)

Worldwide coronavirus death toll more than double official estimates, new  report says | South China Morning Post
Worldwide coronavirus death toll more than double official estimates, new report says (Source: South China Morning Post)