Health D-G: Hospital wards nearly empty, but complacency could spark second Covid-19 wave

Health director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah giving a press conference on Covid-19 in MOH , Putrajaya, May 12, 2020. — Picture by Choo Choy May
Health director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah giving a press conference on Covid-19 in MOH , Putrajaya, May 12, 2020. — Picture by Choo Choy May

PUTRAJAYA, May 12 — Public hospital wards have been left near empty by the high number of discharged Covid-19 patients, the Ministry of Health said today, as it announced a record low figure of new infection cases since March 18.

However with the partial lockdown of the country practically lifted, Health Director-General Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said there is risk complacency could creep in, with the public now freer to move under the conditional movement control order (CMCO).

“If you look at our healthcare facilities, for example, the utilisation of ventilators only three patients today,” he said at the ministry’s daily press briefing on the domestic Covid-19 situation here.

“Our utilisation of ICUs is becoming less and our Covid-19 wards are almost empty now. This is because of our success of policy implementation from the health aspects,” he added, referring to intensive care units.

Any chance at keeping the infection rate low and sustaining the success reaped from the six-week long lockdown will rely greatly on public compliance with the federal guidelines on physical and social distancing set for the CMCO, he stressed.

Malaysia recorded 16 new Covid-19 cases today, the lowest number since the government enforced a movement control order March 18.

The previous record was on May 5, when there were only 30 new daily cases.

Today’s drop in infection cases followed several days of steady climb since May 5, although most of it involved new migrant worker clusters in areas now under total lockdown.

declared the responsibility now is no longer on just the authorities, but also the public playing their role in fighting the coronavirus by adhering to rules set under the conditional movement control order.

“Now the onus is not just on the shoulders of the ministry and the government but also on each individual in the country,” he said at the ministry’s daily press briefing on the pandemic here.

“Social compliance is important, social discipline is important and social responsibility...this is a responsibility of all of us.”

The firm reminder came amid concern over the government’s move to ease restrictions on movement, after countries like South Korea, held as the paramount example of public policy success against the pandemic, saw a spike in new cases.

Since the CMCO, critics have warned about complacency after photos and videos surfaced on social media showing the public failing to comply with federal health guidelines in business premises.

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