KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 10 — Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah today warned Malaysians that the “worst is yet to come” as the country recorded 71 Covid-19 deaths in just the first nine days of the year.
Taking to his Facebook page, the Health director-general made a heartfelt plea to Malaysians to follow the comply with the government’s regulations to arrest the spread of the coronavirus even as the contagion exacts a mental toll on medical workers.
“In first nine months last year, we have less than 100 fatalities. This year, in only nine days, we already have 71 deaths. I fear the worst is yet to come,” Dr Noor Hisham posted in the comments section of his Facebook page.
He also spoke of the difficulties faced by the medical frontliners in treating Covid-19 patients, having to don the full Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) suits that are stuffy, only to see some of them die from the virus, and then having to handle the bodies post-mortem.
“Hopefully we all understand the challenges and issues faced by each and every frontline worker. Come help our country by taking care of one another, taking care of our families. May we all be protected from this disaster that is Covid-19,” he added.
Several medical experts polled by Malay Mail have warned that existing medical facilities in the country will be overwhelmed if Covid-19 cases spike in March to an estimated 8,000 cases a day.
In order to help contain the infections, they suggested that the federal government set up more quarantine centres in each state, and work closely with the state agencies to better reach the masses who are in need of urgent care.
Dr Noor Hisham had recently said that according to prediction models, cases will hit 8,000 per day if the basic reproduction number (R-nought or R0) of the virus infection increases to 1.2.
Using the Susceptible-Exposed-Infective-Recovered (SEIR) epidemiological prediction models, he said the current scenario’s infection rate is at 1.1, meaning daily cases would hit 3,000 which is what happened on Thursday when Malaysia recorded 3,027 cases, a new daily high.
Malaysia has had 542 deaths and 133,559 case cases so far with the number set to increase in the coming months.
The government is mulling stricter SOPs for several sectors and will make the announcement tomorrow.