KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 25 — The Ministry of Health (MOH) has increased bed capacity in preparation for an international projection of 5,000 new Covid-19 cases daily from end February 2021.
According to Health Minister Dr Adham Baba, Malaysia has a total of 25,456 beds for Covid-19 patients across hospitals and low-risk quarantine and treatment centres nationwide, with a 43 per cent occupancy rate as of December 23.
Out of the 871 available beds in intensive care units (ICU), 159 are currently being utilised by Covid-19 patients (18 per cent). A total of 591 out of 1,581 available ventilators are reserved for Covid-19 patients, who are currently using 79 ventilators (5 per cent).
“Currently, the situation in Malaysia is still under control. MOH has enhanced and put in place various public health interventions and hospital preparedness in anticipating an increase of cases as predicted by IHME,” Dr Adham said in a statement.
CodeBlue reported earlier this month that the US-based Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) has projected a continuous rise in Covid-19 cases in Malaysia until mid-March 2021, hitting over 5,000 infections daily from February 25.
“In anticipating this prediction, MOH has been continuously monitoring and enhancing various strategies, measures and interventions,” Dr Adham said.
“The Ministry has further increased the hospital capacity and establishing more Low-Risk Covid-19 Quarantine & Treatment Centres (PKRC). In line with this, MAEPS 2.0 has been established with a higher capacity to accommodate the increasing number of cases, which will be increased up to 10,000 beds.”
Dr Adham’s statement was issued in response to yesterday’s Malaysia Now report that claimed government leaders were warned at a meeting on Covid-19 measures about a possible shortage of ventilators and hospital beds, including in ICU, should Covid-19 infections rise to 5,000 a day.
Malaysia Now alleged that at least 50,000 beds would be needed if IHME’s projection came true early next year, besides claiming manpower problems.
Dr Adham pointed out that JP Morgan and the Malaysian Institute of Economic Research (MIER) previously predicted a cumulative total of 5,000 to 8,000 Covid-19 cases in Malaysia by mid-April this year, but the actual number of total reported cases then was only 4,987 following various public health interventions.
He added that the UK’s Imperial College London previously projected 4,000 to 7,000 daily Covid-19 cases in November and December this year, but daily new infections only reached about 1,000 to 2,000.
Malaysia has recorded a total of 100,318 Covid-19 cases, after hitting 1,581 new infections yesterday. Health authorities have reported a daily average of above 1,000 Covid-19 cases nationwide for the past four weeks, from a daily average of 1,193 infections in the week of November 27 to December 3, to 1,598 cases in the past week from December 18 to 24.