KUALA LUMPUR, July 23 — Government hospitals are under immense pressure owing to the meteoric spike in daily Covid-19 cases, Health Deputy Director-General (public health) Datuk Dr Chong Chee Kheong said today.

Dr Chong, who heads the special Greater Klang Valley Task Force which was formed recently to make quick decisions for Covid-19 cases, said that despite the healthcare system being at its breaking point, preparations are still ongoing to prepare for more infection cases.

“In January we had 2,000 cases a day and early May 4,000 and there was a certain jump in late May to 8,000 cases. It dropped a little bit in June, but rebounded to 12,000 daily cases for the last two weeks and unfortunately today, we have 15,000 cases. This is alarming and places a tremendous strain on our beds, on our oxygen and our manpower capacity.

“The task force specifically has to deal with this crisis and our top priority now is to save lives, to ensure that all ill patients get care be it beds, assessment or just monitoring and finally, we have to continue to prepare for exponential rise of cases until we are fully protected by the vaccination,” Dr Chong said during a Ministry of Health’s (MOH) press briefing.

He said today, the number of beds used for Covid-19 cases is 12,104, while 636 are in the intensive care units (ICUs), with 911 needing ventilators, adding that approximately 500 non-Covid-19 patients have already been transferred to private healthcare facilities.

“Nonetheless we need to create approximately 800 beds a day, to cater for the current level of 12,000 a day,” he said.

Dr Chong said that over the last two days, the special task force has increased the capacity of category three patients at the Malaysia Agro Exposition Park Serdang (Maeps), to an average of 600 admissions a day from the Covid-19 assessment centres, to reduce the backlog of cases in the Klang Valley.

“Number two: the decanting of non-Covid-19 patients to private hospitals as well as to district hospitals, which has created 300 Covid-19 beds in the greater Klang Valley,” he added.

Dr Chong said that Mercy Malaysia’s field hospital assets which were deployed to the Selayang Hospital and Kuala Lumpur Hospital to create 100 beds at each of the facility’s emergency departments, together with volunteers to carry the oxygen tanks.

He said that there is also a crucial need to access oxygen supply for patients at all times, and for this purpose and within the next few days, the Selayang Hospital will receive two 5,000 litre tanks each, while the University Malaya Medical Centre, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia Specialist Children’s Hospital, and the Tengku Ampuan Rahimah Hospital in Klang will receive one tank each of the same volume.

“As for Maeps we have 1,000 multiple size oxygen tanks and our secretary-general has agreed to put up a micro oxygen plant in Maeps so that we can increase the capacity  there should the need arise.

“And in case the cases rise further, beyond our capacity, we will look for another mega PKRC,” he said using the Malay initials for the Covid-19 Integrated Quarantine and Treatment Centre.