Hope we won’t reach 6,000 Covid-19 cases, Health D-G says as shutdown extended

Emmanuel Santa Maria Chin
Health Director-General Datuk Noor Hisham Abdullah at a press conference in Putrajaya March 25, 2020. — Picture by Miera Zulyana

KUALA LUMPUR, March 25 — The Ministry of Health said it hopes additional preventive measures by Putrajaya will be sufficient to contain the Covid-19 outbreak, and not reach the grim heights of 6,000 cases.

Health Director-General Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said he hopes the ongoing public healthcare initiatives and current movement control order would contribute to flattening the curve of infections and not overburdening the healthcare system. 

“We have implemented public healthcare activities and also with this movement control order, we hope we can trace and identify positive cases, and these positive cases will then be isolated and given treatment. 

“We hope with our actions, God willing we are able to reduce the number of cases so that it does not reach 6,000; that is our target, we try to flatten the exponential curve,” he said during the ministry’s daily Covid-19 status update press conference. 

He was responding as to whether the extended movement control order was implemented due to the worsening state of infections in Malaysia. 

It was revealed earlier that there are currently 1,796 positive cases in Malaysia, with 19 deaths, and 199 recovered and discharged. 

“If we are able to flatten it, our public healthcare system will be able to accommodate all the cases,” he added. 

This after Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin announced earlier today that the movement control order which was supposed to end on March 31, has been extended until April 14. 

A report by JP Morgan released on Monday had predicted that Malaysia has yet to arrive at the peak of infections, saying it could occur in mid-April, with an estimated 6,300 possible infections. 

Noor Hisham today also detailed the number of beds available to the ministry, with 3,400 in public hospitals and clinics, and an additional 1,892 commissioned from training centres under the ministry.

He said with the added capacity from the training centres, the hoped the ministry would be able to handle and contain the outbreak. 

“So if we see the overall total number of beds, it is not just 3,400, its a total of 5,292 beds,” he said. 

Noor Hisham added that beds in these training centres would most likely be used to house patients who are asymptomatic and those showing only slight symptoms, but have tested positive for the Covid-19 virus.

He said this would allow ample attention to be given to more serious cases of infections, and not overload its capacity.

“We will empty out these hospitals to be able to treat the moderate, severe, and critical cases within the hospitals,” he added. 

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