Objectives: Since March 2020, several phases of the movement control measures were instituted in Malaysia to break the COVID-19 chain of transmission. In this study, we developed Susceptible-Exposed-Infected-Recovered (SEIR) models to examine the effects of the various movement control phases on the disease transmissibility and case trends during the third COVID-19 wave in Malaysia.
Methods: Three SEIR models were developed using the R programming software ODIN interface based on COVID-19 case data from 1 September 2020 to 29 March 2021. The models were validated and subsequently used to provide forecasts of daily cases from 14 October 2020 to 29 March 2021 based on three movement control phases.
Results: We found that the R values had reduced by 59.1% from an initial high of 2.2 during the Nationwide Recovery Movement Control Order (RMCO) to 0.9 during the Movement Control Order (MCO) and Conditional MCO (CMCO) phases. In addition, the observed cumulative and daily highest cases were much lower compared to the forecast cumulative and daily highest cases at 64.4% to 98.9% and 68.8% to 99.8%, respectively.
Conclusion: We conclude that the movement control measures were able to progressively reduce the R values during the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, more stringent movement control measures such as the MCO and CMCO were effective in reducing the R values and case numbers further during the third wave of COVID-19 outbreak in Malaysia due to their higher stringency levels compared to the Nationwide RMCO.