Health DG warns of more Covid-19 cases this week and next

Health director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah says the challenge now is to procure ventilators for hospitals.

PETALING JAYA: Health director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said authorities are expecting an increase in Covid-19 cases this week and next week.

He also said the main challenge now is procuring ventilators though funding itself is not a problem.

“In the health ministry, we have 925 ventilators. We have reserved some 3,400 beds and 300 intensive care unit (ICU) beds in 26 hospitals. We need 500 more ventilators,” he said at a press conference.

Noor Hisham said the ministry has designated 26 of 145 public hospitals to treat Covid-19 cases.

He said more cases are expected as the Sri Petaling mosque tabligh convention cluster accounts for more than 60% of cases.

“Some have returned to their respective states. Today, there are cases from Perlis to Sabah.”

This, he said, is why it is important for the attendees to get tested for Covid-19.

“If they are positive and are still in their community, they will infect those in the community if they go to the surau or mosque. That is what we are afraid of.

“When we are in a mosque or surau, we don’t know who is next to us. The new clusters could be from indirect (contact) with the tabligh attendees,” he said.

Noor Hisham said the ministry is still investigating the sources of infection from the non-Sri Petaling mosque tabligh convention cluster.

“Where we are certain (a case is) from the tabligh cluster, we will announce it,” he said.

As for the identification of Covid-19 patients, he said their identity and medical data are confidential and protected under the Medical Act 1971.

“It is the right of the patients if they want to reveal themselves but it is our responsibility to protect their confidentiality,” he said.

He said action can be taken against those who reveal the identity or medical records of patients without their consent.

Asked to comment on Health Minister Dr Adham Baba’s claim that warm water could prevent Covid-19 infection, Noor Hisham would only say the ministry’s practice, whether in case management or treatment, was based on science and data.