Dr Noor Hisham: 30 healthcare workers caught Covid-19 from patients

Justin Ong
Nurses go home after working the night shift at the KL Hospital April 2, 2020. ― Picture by Choo Choy May

KUALA LUMPUR, April 7 — Medical workers are being directly infected by coronavirus disease (Covid-19) patients, Health director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said today.

Dr Noor Hisham said that of the 150 healthcare workers that have contracted Covid-19, 30 were found to have been infected in the line of duty.

“And from this 30, some of them have worked in the ICU taking care of SARI (severe acute respiratory illness) patients, such as sporadic Covid-19 cases,” he disclosed during his daily press briefing.

He explained that many of these infections were because SARI was previously not automatically considered Covid-19 despite the similarity in symptoms.

As a result, the infected healthcare workers treating the cases did not wear the necessary personal protective equipment that is used when dealing with Covid-19 patients.

Dr Noor Hisham also said 18 medical workers in clinics were among those infected by patients who came in with what appeared to be common coughs and colds, but later turned out to be Covid-19.

Consequently, the Health Ministry has directed all frontline medical workers to consider SARI cases as Covid-19 until proven otherwise.

“That’s the reason now we have sent the message to all healthcare workers, in the public and private sectors, to protect themselves,” he said, adding that this also included those in clinics.


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