KUALA LUMPUR, June 5 — The Ministry of Health (MOH) today recorded one new Covid-19 fatality after the country recorded zero deaths from the coronavirus for 13 consecutive days.
The victim (Patient 7,733) was a 61-year-old Malaysian man with a history of diabetes, high blood pressure, and kidney cancer, who was treated in Johor on May 29 and succumbed to Covid-19 yesterday.
Nineteen new Covid-19 cases were reported today, of which 12 were local transmissions involving nine foreigners, while seven were imported cases.
This brings the total infections in the country to 8,266, with 1,540 patients still receiving treatment in hospitals. Six patients were placed in intensive care units and one under ventilator support. A total of 51 patients have recovered from Covid-19, bringing the total number of recovered patients to 6,610.
“Everyday brings a new lesson and challenges to the MOH. This is a new virus, so we are learning and the crisis actually has unfolded a lot of lessons and experience from our country and also we are learning the best practices from other countries,” Health director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah told a press conference.
The DG stated that the Movement Control Order (MCO) has successfully managed to slow the transmission of Covid-19 and flattened the epidemiological curve, avoiding a surge of cases in a short period of time that could overwhelm the health care system.
He also hoped that the country will soon shift to the recovery phase which will allow all the sectors including economic, social, and education sectors to be reopened.
The economic sectors will be monitored under the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act 1988 or Act 342, he said.
“Then now we move to Conditional MCO (CMCO) whereby, we ease the restriction, allow the economic sectors to take place and the evaluation from the CMCO from 4th of May until now has shown that we managed to bring down the cases as predicted and projected by our modelling,” Dr Noor Hisham said.
The surge in locally transmitted Covid-19 cases in Malaysia now mainly occurs among foreign workers. So, the DG suggested strengthening standard operating procedures (SOP) among legal foreign workers and to send undocumented migrants back to their respective home countries once they tested negative for Covid-19.
“The modelling that we have done shows that Malaysians comply and adhere to the SOP and this is good. In that sense we can actually project that maybe, perhaps in July can bring down the case further,” he said.
The top MOH official expressed hopes of controlling Covid-19 infection among migrant workers and breaking the chain of transmission in the country by mid-July.
“But when we start to open up all the sectors, we need to monitor,” he said.
He also stated the possibility of easing border controls once MOH can control local transmissions, but stressed that conclusive decisions will only be taken upon constant monitoring and evaluation of the Covid-19 situation.