Doctors advise against complacency as Malaysia’s Covid-19 recovery rate rises

Emmanuel Santa Maria Chin
Former Health Ministry deputy director-general Datuk Dr Christopher Lee speaks during a press conference in Kuala Lumpur February 21, 2020. — Picture by Hari Anggara

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 21 — Malaysians should not be complacent but maintain good hygienic practices to protect against any infection even after the Covid-19 coronavirus outbreak passes, the Malaysian Medical Association (MMA) said today.

The group exhorted the public to keep up their efforts to sanitise their surroundings and themselves following the global outbreak of the virus from its epicentre in Wuhan, China last month.

“If you are not sick and not wearing a mask, the most likely way you would get an infection is through your hands, after touching people or surfaces that have come in contact with an infection.

“Always practise good hygiene as we Malaysians cannot afford to become complacent even if the number of Covid-19 cases here are dropping.

“It just takes one mistake from someone and bad habits from another for the infection to be passed around,” MMA lifetime member Dr Chris Lee told a news conference here.

Malaysia has a total of 22 Covid-19 cases to date, with 17 fully recovered and allowed to return home. Only five remain warded in local hospitals nationwide.

Dr Lee, a renowned infectious diseases specialist and the Health Ministry’s former deputy director general, also said only those not feeling well should use a face mask to reduce the risk of infecting those around them.

He said those who are not sick do not need to wear a mask, so as to avoid causing unnecessary panic.

Dr Lee also advised the public on the proper ways to remove and dispose the face masks, as disposing of it improperly could only lead to other risks of an infection spreading. 

“You have to first remove the mask from the back of the head and then fold it in on itself and remember not to touch the sides facing outside as those are the dirtiest parts of the mask.

“If the mask has trapped moisture, it should be replaced as the filters are no longer effective once they are wet,” he said.

Also present during the press conference was Medical Practitioners Coalition Association of Malaysia president Dr Raj Kumar Maharajah who advised private clinics and general practitioners to always clean the areas that have come in contact with unwell patients.

He recommended that a ‘deep-clean’ be performed on affected sections of the clinic to avoid any lingering traces of an infection.

“Even the chairs, doorknobs all must be disinfected to avoid further spreading of any sort of infection,” he said.

Dr Raj Kumar also included how these private clinics have been advised to charge minimally for patients showing symptoms of acute respiratory infections and to issue medical leaves ranging from three to five days to avoid the patient spreading the virus to others either in school or at work.

“As far as possible we encourage the patients to come and advice the doctors not to overcharge, meaning minimal consultation fees, as we don’t want people avoiding coming to the doctor,” he said.

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