Hoping to control Covid-19 new spike within a month, Sabah asks Putrajaya for more manpower

Julia Chan
·4-min read
Medical officers and assistant medical officers along with five doctors from Kelantan, Terengganu, Putrajaya, Johor, Melaka and Negri Sembilan arriving at Terminal 2 of Kota Kinabalu International Airport for the Covid-19 Assistance Mission in Sabah, October 27, 2020. — Bernama pic
Medical officers and assistant medical officers along with five doctors from Kelantan, Terengganu, Putrajaya, Johor, Melaka and Negri Sembilan arriving at Terminal 2 of Kota Kinabalu International Airport for the Covid-19 Assistance Mission in Sabah, October 27, 2020. — Bernama pic

KOTA KINABALU, Oct 28 — Sabah said today it is hoping for more assistance from the federal Ministry of Health as it tries to control the current Covid-19 wave within the timeframe of three to four weeks.

Sabah state government spokesman for Covid-19 Datuk Seri Masidi Manjun said that the state, which consistently has the highest number of new cases every day, has requested more personnel to assist its healthcare.

“We will try to get as many as required. We have requested for more personnel. At the moment, we have 453 personnel from West Malaysia who have been mobilised to Sabah but I think they will continue to send as much as they can afford because they are also facing a spike in cases in Semenanjung,” he said.

When asked if the state had requested a particular number, Masidi said it would depend on the needs

“That depends on the numbers. Our hope is to bring down the numbers in three to four weeks that means the requirement will be less accordingly. We cannot be sure because of the changing numbers but in three to four weeks, we can hopefully rein this in to manageable numbers,” he said.

To a question about medical frontliners, Masidi agreed that those in Sabah in particular may be under more pressure as medical facilities here were not as advanced as in West Malaysia.

On a report that some have resorted to prescription medication to be able to perform, Masidi said that it was understandable under the circumstances.

“I mean we are human beings, we are subject to a lot of mental stress, and it is only expected they will go through challenges, but what medicinal prescription prescribed to them is beyond my knowledge at this point of time.

“Perhaps we’ll get the Health Department to confirm but the point is that it is expected when they are under a tremendous amount of pressure.

“Like any other human being, at times, you may end up having to take medication to stay alert and ensure you continue doing your job,” he said.

He earlier made a clarification that the state was not reaching its maximum bed capacity of 99.5 per cent as reported, and that the right figure was 52.5 per cent. The earlier erroneous number was from a miscalculation from the cumulative number of cases, which included recovered cases.

“At the moment the number of beds stands at 7,237 beds while the number of active cases is at 3,769 patients who are still receiving treatment. So, the usage currently is 52.5 per cent. I have to explain so there is no misunderstanding and there is no public sense of alarm. There are beds available for Covid patients in Sabah,” he said.

He said that the current hot spots of Covid in Sabah has moved from the east coast to the west coast, particularly around the state capital, which was more equipped with better facilities.

“In KK, Papar, Tuaran and Putatan erroneous you will see an increase in daily numbers so I suppose the pressure is in the west coast, where we have a number of buildings we have converted into low risk patient treatment centres that can help mitigate the pressure on hospitals,” he said.

Masidi said the state would add on another two more of these centres, with a total 350 more beds, and bringing the number to 37 such centres around the state.

Sabah recorded 546 new cases and seven deaths today.

Kota Kinabalu has the highest number of cases at 159, mostly from the Kepayan Prison cluster. The number of new cases in the state capital is expected to be stable now after completion of all the inmates and staff at the prison.

“All 2,701 inmates from the Kepayan Prison have been screened and 1,652, or over 60 per cent have tested positive for Covid-19,” he said.

The source of the cluster was believed to be from an inmate who had to be brought to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital for treatment and contracted it from the community.

Related Articles Exxon Mobil to cut 1,900 US jobs as Covid-19 hits oil prices ECB paves way for December stimulus as lockdowns return Spain parliament approves six-month extension of state of emergency