KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 9 — Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin today said that high-risk category 2 and 3 Covid-19 patients will now be treated at the low-risk quarantine and treatment centres (PKRCs) around the country.
The decision was one of several key shifts in the government’s strategy Khairy announced in a bid to rein in the virus amid growing public concern over the stubbornly high rate of daily cases and a surging fatality rate.
“I’d like to announce after the Covid management meeting this morning we have decided...that we will admit all category 3 patients to PKRCs and also high-risk category 2 patients, or category 2 B patients,” the new health minister told a press conference in Putrajaya.
Khairy announced sweeping changes to the ministry’s Covid-19 data reporting standards earlier, pledging to release crucial granular data that were previously not made available as part of efforts to “prepare’” the public with information needed to live with the coronavirus.
The ministry has changed its tone about its Covid strategy recently, saying it no longer wants to achieve “herd immunity” but instead is preparing the public to co-exist with the pathogen in anticipation that the disease would be endemic.
Under his predecessor, Datuk Seri Dr Adham Baba, category 2 and 3 patients were allowed to be quarantined at home because they suffered only mild symptoms.
The policy was heavily criticised by some experts who said many of the patients often saw their conditions deteriorating, but were either denied treatment or got it late. Some of the same detractors have used this to explain the surge in the number of patients brought in dead (BID).
Up until August, there were over 2,400 BID cases, Khairy revealed today.
But the minister said only 14 per cent were under the care of the MOH or private clinics. The rest were not under any medical supervision.
Khairy had pledged to reduce the number of BID cases as part of the MOH’s key performance indicators (KPIs) for the first 100 days.
“Among the strategies to reduce the BID cases is to make sure those not under (the ministry’s) supervision or local GPs will be increased,” he said.
“So we are studying, deep-diving to find out why that was the case so we can better advise the public.”
Khairy also assured the rate of breakthrough cases among those fully vaccinated remains low, which he said underscored the effectiveness of Covid-19 vaccines.
The breakthrough mortality rate was 0.099 per cent or 90 persons per million population, and a fourth of them had comorbidities, the minister said.
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