Up To Four Weeks’ Lockdown Needed To Curb Covid-19: DG Hisham

Among the four Covid-19 fatalities reported today, one was a 19-year-old girl brought in dead to a hospital in Sabah.

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 13 — The Ministry of Health (MOH) projects that two to four weeks’ lockdown is needed to reduce the number of Covid-19 cases.

The Movement Control Order (MCO) in the Federal Territories (Kuala Lumpur, Putrajaya, Labuan), Selangor, Penang, Johor, Melaka, and Sabah is currently scheduled for two weeks from today until January 26.

“The most important thing is to reduce the load of patients. So within two weeks or four weeks, we can see the effect,” Health director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said at a press conference on Malaysia’s daily Covid-19 cases today.

“And hopefully by doing so, we can have the numbers to less than 500.”

Dr Noor Hisham also added that it will take 12 weeks to flatten the epidemiological curve once again, as MOH predicted that this may only happen in the month of April or May. Flattening the curve means slowing down the number of cases to prevent overwhelming the health care system.

Dr Awang Bulgiba, a public health expert and epidemiologist from University Malaya, told Berita Harian earlier this week that a two-week MCO will not be enough to bring down the daily tally of Covid-19 cases, as the cases reported today were cases that were infected 14 days ago.

Dr Noor Hisham said that Malaysia’s main hospital for infectious disease, Sungai Buloh Hospital, is running at full capacity with their current manpower.

“Sungai Buloh is in full capacity with the manpower that we have, but we do have the capacity to expand from 60 intensive care unit (ICU) beds to expand to 110 (or) 120 beds, but we need the manpower first.

“We have the capacity, but we are short of manpower. So, we need to look at how we can increase our manpower in terms of position. Jabatan Perkhidmatan Awam is helping us offer more posts to nurses etc.”

Dr Noor Hisham said that 10 to 15 percent of Covid-19 cases reported daily are between Stages Three and Five which require hospitalisation. He also said that the number of patients in the ICU as well as those ventilated have doubled compared to last month.

Hence, the Health director-general said that the government is looking at establishing Covid-19 and non-Covid-19 private hospitals and that discussions with private hospitals are ongoing.

“Non Covid-19 for example for cases (like) cancer, semi-emergency, etc. They can continue the treatment in a non-Covid-19 hospital in the private sector. And we also need to look into the capacity of the private hospitals to cater for Covid-19 patients.”

National Covid-19 Highlights

Today, Malaysia recorded 2,985 positive Covid-19 cases, bringing the cumulative cases to 144,518 cases.

Four fatalities were reported today, bringing the death toll to 563 including the death of a 19-year-old foreign girl with anaemia who was brought in dead to Papar Hospital, Sabah.

Currently, there are 32,377 active cases occupying 97.3 per cent of the total bed capacity, including 197 patients in the ICU and 79 on ventilator support.

The breakdown of Covid-19 cases according to states is as below:

  • Selangor: 837 cases
  • Sabah: 450 cases
  • Kuala Lumpur: 289 cases
  • Johor: 535 cases
  • Negeri Sembilan: 106 cases
  • Penang: 105 cases
  • Perak: 61 cases
  • Kedah: 97 cases
  • Pahang: 143 cases
  • Sarawak: 166 cases
  • Melaka: 72 cases
  • Kelantan: 85 cases
  • Terengganu : 27 cases
  • Putrajaya: 11 cases
  • Perlis: one case

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