KUALA LUMPUR, July 23 — Hospitals in Malaysia are expected to be able to accommodate a possible increase of Covid-19 patients, Deputy Health Minister Dr Noor Azmi Ghazali said.
He said in a written Parliament reply to Ledang MP Syed Ibrahim Syed Noh (PKR) that 7,364 beds have been prepared for people with Covid-19, comprising 5,500 beds across 40 public hospitals, including two university hospitals, in addition to 1,864 beds in 26 quarantine and treatment centres for low-risk stable Covid-19 patients with mild symptoms.
The 40 hospitals also have prepared 422 beds in the intensive care unit (ICU) for Covid-19 patients, as well as 1,331 ventilators in these Covid-19 hospitals.
“If there is an increase of positive Covid-19 cases, the capacity of Covid-19 hospitals is expected to be able to support the rise of patients for treatment.
“If necessary, non-Covid-19 hospitals are also prepared to receive patients from Covid-19 hospitals if other patients need to be transferred to give room to Covid-19 patients,” Dr Noor Azmi said.
As of yesterday, only five Covid-19 patients are in ICU, including one on ventilator support. Coronavirus cases have increased to double digits daily since July 17, with the exception of nine new cases on July 18. Total active infectious cases have risen to 142, who are all in hospital.
The deputy health minister also told the Dewan Rakyat that Malaysia’s Covid-19 testing capacity is 36,800 tests daily from 55 laboratories nationwide comprising 24 Ministry of Health (MOH) labs, 12 university hospital labs, two army labs, and one Science, Technology and Innovation Ministry lab.
Dr Noor Azmi further revealed that medicines treating Covid-19 have been supplied to facilities nationwide identified for Covid-19 treatment through emergency procurement, though he did not name the drugs.
“As part of preparations, the Ministry is also considering the stockpiling of certain drugs according to need.”
MOH has also recruited 2,000 extra contract health workers under the Economic Stimulus Package to handle the Covid-19 outbreak, where human resources will be deployed to the more needy health facilities.
“Besides that, the Ministry of Health is being aided by private doctors and specialists who have been hired through contract of service to serve at health facilities.”
As many as 710 public health clinics (Klinik Kesihatan), out of which 553 have bio-safety cabinets, provide antigen rapid test kits (RTK) for early detection of Covid-19 cases. MOH has also identified 486 public health clinics as Covid-19 sampling centres.
The deputy health minister said antigen RTK has been used at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) and klia2 since May 6, with nine biosafety cabinets provided at both airports to expedite Covid-19 testing.
All arrivals at the airports are required to be tested with the antigen rapid tests if they did not get tested earlier at the point of departure. However, authorities have reported several false-negative results from the antigen RTK, particularly in Sarawak, where people initially tested negative with the antigen rapid test at KLIA, but later tested positive upon landing in Sarawak.
Senior Defence Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob said starting tomorrow, both Malaysians and foreigners returning from overseas will now be quarantined for 14 days at designated quarantine stations, instead of at their own homes.
According to Dr Noor Azmi, 1,515 premises have been designated quarantine stations nationwide, where 31 premises are still in use as of July 3. The quarantine stations comprise hotels, public training institutes, MOH training institutes, colleges or universities, hospitals, public halls, dorms, and other premises. All these quarantine centres can house a capacity of 120,150 people.