Dr Noor Hisham: China medical experts impressed with Malaysia’s Covid-19 response, health facilities

Health director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah speaks during a press conference at the Ministry of Health in Putrajaya May 1, 2020. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa
Health director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah speaks during a press conference at the Ministry of Health in Putrajaya May 1, 2020. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

KUALA LUMPUR, May 1 — The team of medical experts from China lauded Malaysia for its quick and effective response to the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) including the enforcement of the movement control order, said Health director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah.

He said that the visiting team held 13 conferences and on-site visits that resulted in the fruitful exchange of information and ideas on tackling the global pandemic.

“They were impressed. We were first and fast to put into action the MCO and they said it worked well. Policy-wise, we are learning from them as they are two months ahead of us,” he said during his daily press briefing here.

Dr Noor Hisham said the team also provided input on Malaysia’s continued response to Covid-19, such as advising against an over-reliance on rapid antigen tests and an early relaxation of border controls.

Malaysia currently uses the rapid test kits to confirm that former Covid-19 patients are free of the virus prior to discharge, in order to free up laboratory testing capacity for active case detections.

“They did mention not to rely too much on rapid test kits. The gold standard is RT-PCR,” he said, referring to reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction testing to confirm Covid-19 infections.

“They also did emphasise that we need to protect our border, which is what we are doing. Unlike others who lifted their borders along with the MCO, we need it. So while we ease restrictions, we have to strengthen border control. Very important for us to continue this, and quarantine and swab those returning to the country,” he said.

Dr Noor Hisham also said that the team was also surprised to find Malaysia’s medical facilities and level of care to be as effective as they have been in treating Covid-19.

“They are impressed with what we have and they did not expect us to be well prepared. Our resources, both human and facilities were focused into the seven Covid-19 hospitals, so we can optimise and maximise our capacity, like what they did in Wuhan.

“Basically, we sent out healthcare workers from the green zone and to the seven Covid-19 hospitals. It gave us confidence knowing that this is what they did,” he said.

He added that the early and well-thought out plans and action resulted in the good results today.

The team of eight medical professionals from China arrived in Kuala Lumpur two weeks ago on April 18.

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