With many countries experiencing a resurgence in COVID-19 cases, it is important to forecast disease trends to enable effective planning and implementation of control measures. This study aims to develop Seasonal Autoregressive Integrated Moving Average (SARIMA) models using 593 data points and smoothened case and covariate time-series data to generate a 28-day forecast of COVID-19 case trends during the third wave in Malaysia. SARIMA models were developed using COVID-19 case data sourced from the Ministry of Health Malaysia’s official website. Model training and validation was conducted from 22 January 2020 to 5 September 2021 using daily COVID-19 case data. The SARIMA model with the lowest root mean square error (RMSE), mean absolute percentage error (MAE) and Bayesian information criterion (BIC) was selected to generate forecasts from 6 September to 3 October 2021. The best SARIMA model with a RMSE = 73.374, MAE = 39.716 and BIC = 8.656 showed a downward trend of COVID-19 cases during the forecast period, wherein the observed daily cases were within the forecast range. The majority (89%) of the difference between the forecasted and observed values was well within a deviation range of 25%. Based on this work, we conclude that SARIMA models developed in this paper using 593 data points and smoothened data and sensitive covariates can generate accurate forecast of COVID-19 case trends.


© 2022 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).

Cite as

Tan, C., Singh, S., Lai, C., Zamri, A., Dass, S., Aris, T., Ibrahim, H. & Gill, B. 2022, 'Forecasting COVID-19 Case Trends Using SARIMA Models during the Third Wave of COVID-19 in Malaysia', International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 19(3), article no: 1504. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19031504

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Last updated: 28 June 2023
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