Beyond health ministry’s scope to advise on policy matters, says DG

Health director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah.

PUTRAJAYA: Health director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah today said his ministry only advises the government on the Covid-19 situation in the country, following questions over the brevity of the one-day Parliament meeting to be held on May 18.

Speaking at his daily briefing here, he said the ministry’s advice was based on facts and data such as the transmission rate of infections and whether the number of cases is on the rise.

“That’s our role. Other than that, it is beyond the health ministry to advise on policy matters and so on.”

DAP supremo Lim Kit Siang had asked earlier today if the health ministry had advised against the holding of parliamentary meetings in light of the Covid-19 situation.

Lim said he was “quite sceptical” that the idea of a one-day sitting of Parliament on May 18 had come from the health ministry.

Noor Hisham said that like other institutions, those attending Parliament were required to undergo a thermal scan and maintain social distancing.

“It’s part of the new norm now. This includes no longer shaking hands,” he said.

On a separate matter, he revealed that there was a shortage of supply at blood banks every Ramadan “without fail”, saying there was currently a shortage of 30%.

He encouraged those who want to donate blood to go to the hospital.

He said he had discussed the matter with the inspector-general of police, and donors would be issued a letter to allow them to pass through roadblocks after they had given blood.

Earlier today, senior minister for security Ismail Sabri Yaakob said the public was allowed to donate blood again following a drop in reserves since the movement control order (MCO) was implemented in mid-March.

He said they would be allowed to travel for this purpose from 10am to 10pm.

Noor Hisham also said the MCO had indirectly “helped” the ministry because fewer accidents meant that the demand for blood had dropped during the period.

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