New health minister needed to manage Covid-19, says think tank

The World Health Organization has increased its risk assessment of Covid-19 to the highest level in terms of spread and impact.

PETALING JAYA: A public health body today urged Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin to appoint a health minister immediately to effectively manage the Covid-19 virus outbreak.

Galen Centre for Health and Social Policy chief executive Azrul Mohd Khalib said the new government should make this a priority, adding that the appointment of a minister would fill the “critical gap” in leadership in the public health system.

“The new minister will need to ensure the necessary logistics, human capital and funding so that the government can continue providing critical frontline healthcare professionals and supporting services.

“This will ensure that Malaysia’s health services are able to maintain its efforts to contain the disease and treat those infected,” he said in a statement.

He said the World Health Organization had recently increased its risk assessment of Covid-19 to the highest level in terms of spread and impact and warned that the disease was on the verge of becoming a pandemic.

“We have seen the role of health minister become more essential than ever before to communicate developments and progress to the Malaysian public of the ongoing efforts by the government to curtail the health threat. Strong and competent leadership makes a difference,” he said.