Adham: 500 Daily Covid-19 Case Target Improbable Now

The health minister is visiting Sarawak to discuss measures to handle rising Covid-19 outbreaks in the state, such as mobilising health care workers, and ensuring sufficient test kits and protective gear.

KUALA LUMPUR, April 12 — The Ministry of Health (MOH) may not achieve its forecast of 500 daily Covid-19 cases nationwide by mid-May as infections continue to rise, Dr Adham Baba said today. 

The health minister noted that the nationwide Rt, or infectivity rate, was currently at 1.06, while Sarawak’s Rt is 1.08. An Rt above 1 indicates that the epidemic is growing. 

“On our forecast of 500 daily Covid-19 cases by the middle of May, at this point, it’s not encouraging,” Dr Adham told a virtual press conference.

“This is an issue of concern that is linked to worsening compliance with SOPs (standard operating procedures). We should emphasise and ensure compliance with SOPs all the time.”

Recently, CodeBlue reported that critical Covid-19 cases in Malaysia have been increasing since the middle of March, reaching a third of intensive care unit (ICU) beds on average last week.

“Regarding the increase in cases in ICU, there are several states that reported an increase in the usage of ICU beds, not the entire nation,” Dr Adham said in response, adding that Bintulu and Sibu in Sarawak have also reported a rise in Covid-19 cases in ICU and on ventilator support.

“For that, readiness of manpower and matters pertaining to sufficient treatment plans have already been implemented.”

He said he would visit Sarawak later today to discuss measures to deal with rising Covid-19 outbreaks in the country’s largest state, such as mobilising human resources like doctors, nurses, and medical assistants; and ensuring sufficient test kits and personal protective equipment (PPE).

Sarawak has recorded 39 coronavirus clusters related to communities so far this year, 21 of which came from gatherings of family and friends. A total of 17 workplace clusters were also reported in Sarawak to date. 

“We will ensure the mobilisation of equipment to increase our preparedness, while low-risk quarantine and treatment centres (PKRC) will also be set up in a few towns in Sarawak.”

Dr Adham also stated that several initiatives, including preventive measures and boosting hospital capacity, are to be implemented in states that report more Covid-19 cases like Sarawak, Penang, Johor and Selangor.

“For ICU patients who recover and enter the normal ward, enough spaces have been allotted in hospitals. So far we are managing the situation well.”

The health minister mentioned that Malaysia is doing enough daily Covid-19 tests. 

It is to be noted that Covid-19 screening conducted in Malaysia declined over the past three weeks from about 44,000 to 41,000 average daily tests, excluding foreign workers’ screening.

“Starting from April 1, the Social Security Organisation (Socso) is not giving subsidy to employers to conduct RTK-Ag tests. However, employers are using a targeted approach to test and screen workers who show symptoms. Positive cases will be isolated and treated in PKRC or hospitals,” Dr Adham added.

Over the past one week, from April 5 to 11, Malaysia has reported a total of 54 new Covid-19 clusters in the country, of which 64.8 per cent or 35 clusters belong to workplaces.

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