Health minister: PM to make special Covid-19 announcement tonight

Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Adham Baba speaks during a press conference in Kuala Lumpur March 16, 2020. — Picture by Choo Choy May
Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Adham Baba speaks during a press conference in Kuala Lumpur March 16, 2020. — Picture by Choo Choy May

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KUALA LUMPUR, March 16 — Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin will make a special announcement later tonight on the Covid-19 pandemic.

Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Adham Baba said the announcement, which will also be attended by members of the National Security Council, is expected to touch on the subject of a plausible nationwide lockdown.

It will be broadcast “live” at 10pm on Astro Awani, RTM, TV3 and BernamaTV.

“Since we are now at the late containment phase and attempting to mitigate Covid-19, the PM’s announcement will outline everything on the subject,” he said during a press conference.

Dr Adham said presently Malaysia is still able to contain the pandemic, since it has sufficient resources and personnel to do so.

“Currently, there are 926 ventilators in Intensive Care Units at government hospitals nationwide, along with 152 non-invasive type ventilators, and 142 transportation type ventilators, with the private sector possessing 450 ventilator units. The ministry has also placed orders for another 800 ventilator units.

“Supplies are adequate, with 130 government and 210 private hospitals nationwide equipped to handle Covid-19. 61,158 doctors are also working to stem the pandemic,” he said.

The minister added that although the number of doctors is enough for now, the ministry is also seeking more epidemiologists to help out.

“The bulk of the positive cases are concentrated in Selangor, Kuala Lumpur, Sabah and Johor.

“The ministry has also brought on 830 new nurses nationwide to serve in government hospitals, on a two-year contractual basis, whose efforts will greatly contribute to the late containment phase,” he said.

Dr Adham added that the Cabinet is also considering seeking assistance from China in handling the Covid-19 outbreak.

Malaysia has now recorded a total of 553 positive Covid-19 cases, with 42 having since recovered and discharged from the hospitals.

As of noon today, 125 new cases were reported, out of which 95 have been identified to have originated with the cluster related to the tabligh gathering at Jamek Sri Petaling Mosque in Kuala Lumpur. 

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