One more death but recoveries still ahead

PUTRAJAYA: One new death was recorded in the past 24 hours, bringing the country’s Covid-19 toll to 109.

The latest casualty was a 63-year-old man with a history of diabetes and liver cancer. He was warded at the Kuala Lumpur Hospital on May 8 and died yesterday morning.

Health director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said 70 new cases were also reported, taking total infections to 6,726.

Of the 70 new cases, 31 involved foreigners. A total of 57 cases were local transmissions while the remaining 13 were import cases.

However, 88 patients were also discharged, bringing total recoveries to 5,113 or 76.02% of all cases.

Meanwhile, 1,504 patients continue receiving treatment with 20 in the intensive care unit and seven in need of respiratory assistance.

The ministry also recorded 39 new cases from the 32 clusters, 29 of which were discovered at the Chow Kit market. Eight were recorded in the Pesantren cluster and one each in the Sendayan cluster and Cheras security guard cluster.

On a separate matter, Noor Hisham said the test the ministry conducted to screen people for Covid-19 was the Real-time Reverse Transcription-Polymerase Chain Reaction (rRT-PCR) or antigen RTK (rapid test kit).

He said an RTK antibody test, on the other hand, could not be used to confirm any active infection as a negative test result did not guarantee that the person would be free of the virus.

Several quarters had raised the issue on the use of the RTK antibody test at private clinics to screen those returning to work.

“However, the RTK antibody test can be used for prevalence studies in a community or for a targeted group,” he said.

Asked why the ministry would not test all those returning to work, Noor Hisham suggested it could be futile.

He said those who return to work could be exposed to the virus days after they were screened.

“The question is, how many times do we need to test them? This is because they are exposed to the community and virus every day,” he said.

He said this was why the ministry would only do so if there was a sudden spike in a particular area, like a factory, and only then would it test everyone.

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