The effects of super spreading events and movement control measures on the COVID-19 pandemic in Malaysia

Lai Chee Herng, Sarbhan Singh, Bala Murali Sundram, Ahmed Syahmi Syafiq Md Zamri, Tan Cia Vei, Tahir Aris, Hishamshah Ibrahim, Noor Hisham Abdullah, Sarat Chandra Dass, Balvinder Singh Gill

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This paper aims to develop an automated web application to generate validated daily effective reproduction numbers (Rt) which can be used to examine the effects of super-spreading events due to mass gatherings and the effectiveness of the various Movement Control Order (MCO) stringency levels on the outbreak progression of COVID-19 in Malaysia. The effective reproduction number, Rt, was estimated by adopting and modifying an Rt estimation algorithm using a validated distribution mean of 3.96 and standard deviation of 4.75 with a seven-day sliding window. The Rt values generated were validated using thea moving window SEIR model with a negative binomial likelihood fitted using methods from the Bayesian inferential framework. A Pearson's correlation between the Rt values estimated by the algorithm and the SEIR model was r = 0.70, p < 0.001 and r = 0.81, p < 0.001 during the validation period The Rt increased to reach the highest values at 3.40 (95% CI 1.47, 6.14) and 1.72 (95% CI 1.54, 1.90) due to the Sri Petaling and Sabah electoral process during the second and third waves of COVID-19 respectively. The MCOs was able to reduce the Rt values by 63.2 to 77.1% and 37.0 to 47.0% during the second and third waves of COVID-19, respectively. Mass gathering events were one of the important drivers of the COVID-19 outbreak in Malaysia. However, COVID-19 transmission can be fuelled by noncompliance to Standard Operating Procedure, population mobility, ventilation and environmental factors.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2197
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 9 Feb 2022


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