Swamped by rising Covid-19 patients, Health Ministry asks Malaysians not to blame it for balik kampung frustrations

The Ministry of Health has asked Malaysians to be more supportive of nurses and doctors working around the clock to treat the overwhelming number of Covid-19 patients placed in intensive care units — Picture by Hari Anggara
The Ministry of Health has asked Malaysians to be more supportive of nurses and doctors working around the clock to treat the overwhelming number of Covid-19 patients placed in intensive care units — Picture by Hari Anggara

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KUALA LUMPUR, May 5 — In a seeming plea for sympathy, the Ministry of Health has asked Malaysians to be more supportive of nurses and doctors working around the clock to treat the overwhelming number of Covid-19 patients placed in intensive care units.

The appeal, made on Twitter earlier this evening, appeared to be in anticipation of backlash from the Malay-Muslim community affected by the National Security Council’s decision to place six densely populated districts in Selangor under the movement control order.

The two-week MCO will take effect starting tomorrow and will last until the second week of the Aidilfitri celebrations, likely to fall on May 13, which would prevent those celebrating from travelling back to their home states, a key tradition.

Tweeting a video of a patient in ICU, the ministry said the clip was meant to show the hard work required to treat those with severe Covid-19 symptoms. The 15 second video depicted seven doctors and nurses draped in blue personal protective equipment turning a patient on his side to allow more oxygen into the lungs.

“To enable the process requires at least seven staff to move the patient when dressed in PPE,” the ministry tweeted.

“Please appreciate nurses and doctors in ICU. We are appealing not to be chided because netizens cannot go back (to their home states) to celebrate Raya,” it added.

At the time of writing the clip had received over 26,000 views and over 1,000 likes.

In the response section, some Twitter users suggested MOH’s message was misdirected.

A Twitter user by the name @Mikael wrote: “Nobody is chiding nurses and doctors about going back for raya. Not sure which kayangan (fantasized) group did that.”

Another user by the name @MiaIqbal said health workers were never targeted, instead the anger was mostly directed at policy makers and MOH’s top management.

“MOH failed. No...not the frontliners but policy makers. What a shame after more than a year Malaysians still hv (have) to undergo MCO! I’m sorry frontliners. May Allah bless you always,” the user wrote.

Senior Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said yesterday that six districts within Selangor will be placed under partial lockdown following several days of high Covid-19 infections in the state.

The districts affected were Hulu Langat, Petaling, Gombak, Klang, Kuala Langat and Sepang, some of the most populous urban areas in the country.

Interdistrict travel will be prohibited for the affected areas while most state borders will remain closed.

The move has infuriated the Malay community. Last year’s Hari Raya celebrations were also held under partial lockdown where most households were barred from travelling back to their home states.

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