Top officials in Putrajaya are stepping up the war on Covid-19 amid concerns that the country could follow the path of European nations hard hit by the pandemic within the next one month, with new infections hitting four figures each day.
Sources who spoke to those involved in the daily monitoring of the Covid-19 situation said the country could hit 3,000 new infections each day in four weeks’ time.
“We don’t want to become like Italy, where we reach the point at which we need to choose which patient to save.
“If that happens, perhaps only those below 69 years old will have access to treatment,” the source told MalaysiaNow.
Italy, the first European country to be hit by the global pandemic, is among the countries with the highest numbers of deaths compared to its population, with 98 fatalities per 100,000 inhabitants.
During its first wave of Covid-19 infections in March last year, it recorded about 5,500 deaths and over 60,000 positive cases.
Since December, officials have been focusing on preparations for another round of infections amid a projected scenario of 5,000 daily cases by end-February, which could put further pressure on government hospitals and frontliners already treating thousands of patients every day.
ICUs at hospitals are reaching full capacity due to an increase in Covid-19 patients with chronic underlying illnesses, a problem compounded by cases of health workers themselves falling victim to the virus.
Yesterday, MalaysiaNow reported that the government is weighing a tighter form of movement control order that would see restrictions on interstate travel and social activities in six states classified as red zones, including the Klang Valley.
It is learnt that in states like Melaka, Kedah, Johor, Penang and Selangor, more than 70% of hospital beds at government facilities have been taken up by Covid-19 patients alone.
“In Johor, the Enche Besar Hajjah Kalsum hospital has already hit 100% capacity in terms of beds and facilities.
“Hospital Sungai Buloh has also reached 100% capacity while the Universiti Malaya Medical Centre (PPUM) has used up all its beds.
“We don’t have a lot of room left to treat patients. If daily cases continue to hit four figures, in a month’s time our healthcare system will collapse and we won’t be able to take in any more patients.”
Covid-19 cases began spiking in September following the Sabah state election, sparking what the health ministry called a third wave of infections.
Yesterday, new cases hit a high of 2,593 while the death toll increased to 513.
Meanwhile, the source said there are currently 44 Covid-19 patients in critical condition waiting for a place in an ICU, all of which are running at maximum capacity.
“The Sungai Buloh hospital can’t take in other patients because there isn’t enough manpower,” it added.
Malaysia may consider a more targeted approach of the Movement Control Order (MCO) as the country’s healthcare system is at breaking point, the Health Ministry said today.
The healthcare system is currently struggling to cope with the large number of Covid-19 patients, said the Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah.
“This is a very challenging time for the Ministry in terms of our healthcare system as we have a large number of patients. Our healthcare system has been pressured and [we are] at a breaking point now because cases are increasing everyday so we may not be able to accommodate patients in our facilities.
“[We are looking at] how we can enhance our healthcare but the best thing to do would be not only enhance our healthcare system, but also to reduce the load,” said Dr Noor Hisham at a press briefing today.
He said the country needed a circuit breaker, stressing that a more “targeted” approach of the MCO is needed to bring down the number of Covid-19 cases.
“We need a circuit breaker to bring the [daily] cases down from the 2,000 level.
“We may consider that the red zone States and green zone States would have different strategies. It is a more targeted approach.
“Rather than [imposing one common rule for] the whole nation like what we did for MCO (movement control order) on March 18 last year. I think now our strategy will change and we will be more localised and targeted in terms of implementation.
“Discussions [with the National Security Council] are still ongoing and we will make some decisions as soon as possible,” added Dr Noor Hisham.
On Monday, the director-general announced the emergence of 14 Covid-19 clusters caused by inter-state travel and social activities since the relaxation of the MCO on Dec 7.
He said five clusters in the country involved people who travelled between States. The five clusters are the Intan, Semambu and Tembok Mempaga clusters in Pahang, the Seragam Chepa cluster in Kelantan and the Ehsan Ibol cluster in Perak.
Dr Noor Hisham added that another nine clusters that emerged since Dec 7 were triggered by social activities.
These are the Gerbang Pongsu cluster in Perak, the Lintas Seraya cluster in Sabah, Sungai Redan (Johor), Maringkan (Sabah), Cassia Diamond (Penang and Selangor), Paginatan (Sabah), Sungai Burong (Selangor and Negeri Sembilan), Kupi-Kupi (Sabah) and Bandar Impian (Johor, Kelantan, Perak).
Malaysia today reported a record high number of 2,593 new Covid-19 infections, bringing the total number of cases in the country to 125,438.
Source : Malaysia Now
Source : The Edge