MoH mulling recall of frontliners seconded to Sabah as Covid-19 continues to haunt West Malaysia

Jerry Choong
·3-min read
Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said there has been a request from Selangor and Negri Sembilan to recall health personnel who were sent to Sabah. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa
Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said there has been a request from Selangor and Negri Sembilan to recall health personnel who were sent to Sabah. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

PUTRAJAYA, Dec 2 — The Ministry of Health (MoH) is considering whether to mobilise its personnel and frontliners in Sabah back to Peninsular Malaysia, as the number of Covid-19 positive cases in the latter region continue to rise.

Its director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said there has been a request from Selangor and Negri Sembilan to bring back its staff who were sent to Sabah, so they can assist in case detection and risk evaluation back home.

“We will give it thought, as the number of Covid-19 cases in Sabah is now beginning to decline,” he said in his press conference.

Dr Noor Hisham said the ministry commonly mobilises its staff whenever increased cases have been identified within a state or district.

“This can clearly be seen when we dispatched both staff from Sabah and the Peninsula during the increase of cases in Sabah between September and October.

“For Selangor itself, around 59 medical officers and 57 public health personnel were mobilised, with an additional 64 public health personnel mobilised in other states,” he said.

The ministry also mobilised various NGOs and volunteers to work alongside it, especially in Selangor due to the considerable increase in cases.

“These include the IMAM Response and Relief Team, Mercy Malaysia, and the Malaysian Red Crescent Society. Currently they have been instructed to accompany ministry personnel in investigating cases, as well as looking at close-contact tracing and collecting samples while on the field.

“This has the effect of helping the ministry to optimise its human resources and personnel, thereby hastening the process of sample collection,” Dr Noor Hisham said, thanking both personnel from his ministry and other government agencies, as well as the NGOs and volunteers who strive to curb the spread of Covid-19.

As of yesterday, the number of personnel dispatched to Sabah is 920 people, along with 90 more general health personnel sent as well.

The director-general said the total number of 1,010 people on duty in Sabah are rotated on a regular basis to provide assistive services from the Peninsular.

“With the reduction of Covid-19 cases in Sabah, if the personnel there are mobilised to come back, they will have certain duties. For example, in Selangor, the infections are targeted and focused on individual localities such as the ongoing Teratai cluster.

“This means they will have to carry out screening on its workers. Presently we have screened 6,609 people in that cluster, of which 5,083 tested positive,” Dr Noor Hisham said.

He added that 1,514 people or 29 per cent of all cases are active cases currently placed in quarantine and low-risk treatment centres as well as hospitals. A total of 3,569 people or nearly 70 per cent have since fully recovered after 14 days.

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