Record 91 recoveries from Covid-19

Health director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah.

PETALING JAYA: Malaysia saw a record 91 recoveries from Covid-19 today, bringing the total number of patients discharged so far to 479.

However, health director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said two new deaths were also reported, bringing the death toll to 37.

He said 156 new cases were reported, pushing the number of patients so far to 2,626.

Ninety-four of them are being treated in the intensive care unit with 62 in need of respiratory assistance.

The latest fatalities involve a 47-year-old man who died this morning at the Sarawak General Hospital, and a 46-year-old woman with a history of chronic illness who was being treated at the Miri Hospital in Sarawak.

Last night, a 57-year-old woman who had a history of travel to Indonesia was confirmed as the 35th person to die of Covid-19.

Noor Hisham said the 91 recoveries were the largest to date.

He said the government was observing cases in Malaysia and comparing them with other countries, and so far, there had been no exponential spike in cases, which was something they feared.

“But we do not have that. Everyday we have around 150 to 200 cases. That is because everyday we have active case detection where we go to communities and identify the high-risk group, take a targeted approach and test them.

“Our detection of positive cases is around 8%, which means for every 100 people we test, 8% will be positive,” he said, adding the positive cases would then be isolated and tested.

Still, he said, although there had been no spike in the number of cases, the ministry was preparing for the worst by readying thousands of extra beds and designating more hospitals to treat Covid-19.

So far, there are 70 hospitals nationwide to screen for the virus and 38 designated for treating cases.

Noor Hisham said the ministry was concerned that the second wave of cases would come from Malaysians returning from overseas.

“So what we need to do is focus on imported cases, enhance home surveillance and make sure the target groups remain in quarantine centres even if they test negative,” he said.

Those who tested positive were already isolated and given treatment.

He said the authorities were looking at ways to better ensure that those who returned to Malaysia adhered to the self quarantine rule as some were not doing so.

They should remain at home or be placed at quarantine centres.

Those who were under self quarantine at home, he said, also had to follow social distancing rules ad keep track of their symptoms.

Noor Hisham said that during the school holidays, many travelled overseas and when they returned, the concern was that they may bring back the virus.

This, he said, was where the movement control order (MCO) would ensure they remain at home.

Prior to the MCO on March 18, some 10,000 Malaysians would return from overseas daily, and after the MCO was imposed, this dropped to about 4,000.

He also said that if there was a spike in cases in certain areas, the government would implement an enhanced MCO like it had done in Simpang Renggam in Johor and Sungai Lui in Selangor.

On Simpang Renggam, Noor Hisham said authorities can test about 300 residents a day and in 14 days, they can reduce the number of Covid-19 cases in the two affected villages.

“We estimate that by 10 days we can complete the test,” he said.