Weekly Highlights

Covid-19 patients asked to self-isolate at home. This is worrying.


The recent statement by the Health DG Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah that that tells asymptomatic Covid-19 patients to self-isolate at home first due to insufficient number of beds is really worrying and it is actually what we feared at the beginning of the virus when we needed MCO to then flatten the curve and not overwhelm our healthcare system.

Health DG Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah advises asymptomatic Covid-19 patients to self-isolate at home first due to insufficient number of beds.

In view of this, I hope MOH will issue new guidance asap to educate those tested positive(+ve) that need to go through home quarantine procedures. It is not merely staying at home, but proper isolation in a specific room and not sharing public places such as bathrooms, kitchens..etc

Ideally, the entire household must also self-isolate together at home to reduce risk of spreading it to the community or their place at work.

On top of that they should be looking at increasing their contact tracing speed.

“The best way to curb the spread is the speed of contact tracing & ideally, it should be done within 24hrs, max 48 hours. The faster we can trace, faster we can isolate to reduce risk of more community spread.” – Dr. Kelvin Yii

In Parliament, I asked before what is average contact tracing time to gauge our speed and approach but did not get a proper answer. Now the DG has admittedly that in many cases, it takes much more than 48hours.

This delay may be due to lack of manpower or places to isolate. If it is due to manpower, the MoH should look into engaging more manpower to focus on contact tracing as seen in different countries. It may be difficult to fully prevent an outbreak, but what can be done is to be quick to contain it.

That is why there is a need for an “all-of-government” and “whole-of-society” strategy and approach to the war against the Covid-19 pandemic especially in view in view of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME)’s projection that Malaysia is projected to experience a continuous rise in Covid-19 cases until mid-March 2021, hitting over 5000 infections daily from February 25th.

While the Ministry of Health has mentioned that they are ready for such projections, but in order to instil more confidence in public on the approach, they should be more transparent and comprehensive in their strategy, and even engaging experts from different fields including the private sector to be part of the approach towards this virus.

In Singapore, they engaged an 18-man expert panel since April comprising of experts in infectious diseases, immunology, individuals from the healthcare sector, academia and clinicians among others to advice their government on their approach towards Covid-19. They published their names and credentials to instil confidence in the people and promote acceptance of the strategy itself.

In case of Malaysia, we do have experts in these fields and I have confidence in their expertise and abilities, but we are mostly kept in the dark whether all experts are recruited and engaged properly to help in this war including those in the private sector so that there will be a “whole-of-society approach

This will give confidence and acceptance towards our approach and also eventually the National Vaccination Strategy.

Kelvin Yii Lee Wuen
MP Bandar Kuching

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