KUALA LUMPUR, April 11 — Malaysia currently has 2,462 confirmed infectious Covid-19 patients, after deducting fatalities and recoveries from the total 4,530 official coronavirus cases in the country, health authorities said.
As of today, 1,995 people have recovered from Covid-19 and been discharged from hospital, while 73 have died from the virus.
Health director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah projected that by April 14, the end of the second phase of the nationwide Movement Control Order (MCO), the number of infectious cases would drop to about 2,033 patients.
“These are the signs of success of the first and second phases of the MCO in reducing Covid-19 infectiousness in the community,” he said in a statement.
The Ministry of Health (MOH) reported 184 new Covid-19 cases today, three new deaths, and 165 new recoveries.
TIME recently reported a study on recovered coronavirus patients in Shenzhen, China, that found 38, or almost 15 per cent of 262 patients, tested positive after they were discharged from hospital. Similar reports highlighted some cases in Japan and South Korea, where people diagnosed with Covid-19 and seemingly recovered had been readmitted to hospital after testing positive for coronavirus again.
Experts told TIME that these reports were likely not cases of re-infection, but were cases where tests did not detect lingering infection for a period of time, or false negative results.
Dr Noor Hisham also announced today that 224 MOH health care workers have tested positive for Covid-19 as of today, but he stressed that none of the cases involved handling coronavirus patients in Covid-19 or intensive care unit (ICU) wards.
A total of 150 cases, or 67 per cent, got infected from the community, including from coworkers who contracted Covid-19 from the community.
Forty-one MOH staff, or 18 per cent, contracted the virus from patients. This comprises 29 cases from patients with severe acute respiratory infection (SARI), nine from patients whose status was unknown before giving treatment, and three from screening and other activities on the field.
Thirty-three cases, or 15 per cent, are still under investigation.
Dr Noor Hisham told health facilities to evaluate their stock of personal protective equipment (PPE) to ensure supply is sufficient, to treat all SARI and pneumonia cases as Covid-19 until proven otherwise, and to strengthen triaging by isolating suspected Covid-19 patients. He also told health workers who treat confirmed Covid-19 cases to wear PPE, while those treating patients not suspected of coronavirus infection should wear face masks.
“MOH wishes to advise all health care workers and frontliners, including private medical practitioners and non-government organisations, who treat patients to wear face masks”.
When asked about the Higher Education Ministry’s suggestion to send students back home in their hometowns, due to the extension of the MCO to April 28, Dr Noor Hisham urged the ministry to “be patient”.
“Maybe in a week or two, at least in one week, we’ll look at the latest data. If we have the latest data for a week for Phase 3, we can give advice to KPT,” he said, referring to the Higher Education Ministry.
The Health DG, however, added that movement controls must be tightened during the third phase of the MCO from April 15 to 28.
Higher Education Minister Noraini Ahmad tweeted yesterday that the ministry was looking at the best way to send students still remaining on campus back home.
Former Youth and Sports Minister Syed Saddiq Abdul Rahman also urged the government to send students home in stages throughout the country after medical screening.
“The government needs to prepare special transport for students to return home without causing Covid-19 infection. This can be done together with higher education institutes, airlines, and public bus companies.”