Report: Low-risk Covid-19 patients can opt for hotel quarantine on own dime, says health minister, amid complaints of subpar conditions at MAEPS

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Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Adham Baba was reported as saying that low-risk patients Covid-19 patients would have to foot the bill for their stay at designated hotels on their own, or have their employers do so. ― Picture by Firdaus Latif
Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Adham Baba was reported as saying that low-risk patients Covid-19 patients would have to foot the bill for their stay at designated hotels on their own, or have their employers do so. ― Picture by Firdaus Latif

KUALA LUMPUR, May 19 — Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Adham Baba has said that Covid-19 patients who are low-risk and asymptomatic can choose to stay at designated hotels, with the permission of medical officers.

National daily The Star today reported Dr Adham as saying that these low-risk patients — under Categories 1, 2 or 3 — would however have to foot the bill for their stay at these hotels on their own, or have their employers do so.

He reportedly clarified that this applies for patients at the Malaysia Agro Exposition Park Serdang (MAEPS) or any other low-risk quarantine and treatment centres (PKRC).

“I understand that the situation at MAEPS is not up to par for some. The Ministry of Health (MoH) is only in charge of providing the specifications to the National Disaster Management Agency (Nadma).

“Allowing low-risk patients to pay and stay in designated hotels is not something new. This will ease the congestion for those who cannot afford to do so but such requests can only be approved by the Covid Assessment Centre health officers.

“We currently have 73 hotels nationwide which are being used to house arrivals from overseas as well as our low-risk Covid-19 Quarantine and Treatment Centres,” he was quoted as saying.

This comes after the Selangor Health Department, on Sunday, admitted that conditions at MAEPS were “challenging”, after patients quarantined there complained online that the amenities provided were unsatisfactory.

The Star also quoted Minister in the Prime Minister's Department (Special Functions) Datuk Seri Mohd Redzuan Md Yusof as saying that Nadma will address the patients’ concerns.

“We did provide the set-up as needed for MAEPS when the surge happened in Selangor.

“We currently have a capacity of 5,800 beds in Halls A and B and we are also setting up the tents to accommodate more, as well as tents to nurse some who may need ventilators.

“The beds are not fully occupied yet but we can meet a capacity of 8,000 beds if needed,” he reportedly told The Star.

Redzuan reportedly added that contracted cleaners are cleaning the premises four times a day, adding that one of the main problems faced are toilets clogged with sanitary towels.

He also reportedly clarified other matters, such as food procurement and air conditioning, and asked for the cooperation of patients to keep the premises clean.

It was previously reported that Covid-19 patients are split into five categories according to the severity of their symptoms.

Category 1 refers to those who are asymptomatic — meaning with no symptoms — while Category 2 refers to those who are symptomatic but do not have a lung infection.

Category 3 comprises those who are symptomatic and have a lung infection, and Category 4 is for those who are symptomatic with a lung infection and also need oxygen supplementation.

Category 5 is for critically ill patients, for example, with complications involving multiple organs.

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