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A Long Term Observation of Meteorological Influence on COVID-19 Pandemic Spread in Malaysia – A Case Study


This study aims to investigate the relationship between meteorological parameters and the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic spread in every state in Malaysia. This study uses the secondary data of COVID-19, meteorology parameters, including AQI from the Ministry of Health Malaysia, NASA POWER Data Access Viewer, and Air Quality Historical Data Platform webpage, respectively. The parameters included in this study are daily cases, daily deaths, total daily cases, total daily deaths, temperature (T) (°), relative humidity (RH) (%), wind speed (WS) (m/s), precipitation (P) (mm), dew point (DP) (°), and air quality index (AQI) (API) during Movement Control Order (MCO), Conditional Movement Control Order (CMCO), and Recovery Movement Control Order (RMCO) phases. Statistical analyses such as Pearson’s correlation, factor analysis, and factor score were used for data analysis and interpretation. Overall, T, WS, P, and DP are significant parameters to the COVID-19 outbreak in Malaysia. Every lockdown phase is influenced by different meteorological parameters. The correlation analysis revealed that meteorological parameters had a significant impact on the COVID-19 outbreak in Johor, Kelantan, Negeri Sembilan, Sabah, Sarawak, Selangor, and W.P. Kuala Lumpur. The study also reveals that the optimal ranges of T (26.5 ° - 28.5 °), RH (78% - 87%), WS (1.4 m/s – 2.7 m/s), P (6 mm - 11 mm), and DP (23.8 ° - 24.75 °) influenced the COVID-19 outbreak irrespective of states and MCOs. However, API (<50 API) favours lesser COVID-19 outbreaks in the country. The HYSPLIT trajectory model was also used to study the backward air mass movement to identify the sources of air pollutants reaching the selected states (W.P. Kuala Lumpur and Sabah). The results revealed that the source of air pollutants was from multiple directions, with mixed contributions from the land and ocean. The attempt to observe the influence of local climatic patterns on the pandemic has revealed that short term climate change in the country is significant which may support the COVID-19 spread. The research outcome would be helpful to understand the role of meteorology in the long-term effect of COVID-19 spread in Malaysia. This study also helps the health policymakers, Malaysian Government, and NGOs to curb the spread in the next episode of COVID-19 and other related pandemics.