Covid-19 patients who test positive on 13th day will now be discharged

Health director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah says the ministry will change its protocol in managing Covid-19 patients.

PUTRAJAYA: The health ministry said Covid-19 patients who test positive on the eve of the 14-day treatment period will be discharged as they would not be able to infect others.

Health director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said based on a report released by the World Health Organization (WHO) last night, infectivity was zero after the 14-day period.

Previously, he said, patients would be discharged if they tested negative on the 13th day, while those who test positive would continue to be treated in hospital.

“So with this (WHO’s latest report), if after 14 days, even if they test positive, we can discharge them because infectivity is almost zero.

“We will now change the protocol in managing the Covid-19 patients,” he said during his daily briefing here today.

Noor Hisham said based on studies by WHO and other countries, infectivity would reduce after 14 days.

“The ministry will, therefore, come up with a new standard operating procedure in treating Covid-19 patients.

“But even if they are discharged, we would still recommend they quarantine for two weeks at home.”

Noor Hisham also said the ministry would stop using hydroxychloroquine to treat Covid-19 patients if they suffered from side effects.

The drug, which has been used to treat malaria for the past 40 years, can cause blurry eyesight and a longer QT interval.

A QT interval is a measurement made on an electrocardiogram (ECG) used to assess some of the electrical properties of the heart. An abnormally long or short QT interval is associated with an increased risk of developing abnormal heart rhythms and sudden cardiac death.

He said the ministry was “cautiously using” the drug, adding that they would monitor the heartbeat of those on hydroxychloroquine.

“If the QT is long, we will halt it or the heart could stop beating,” he said.

Reports had said that WHO will temporarily drop the drug from its global study into experimental treatments following safety concerns.

WHO’s director-general, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said a recent study showed that those taking hydroxychloroquine were at higher risk of death and heart problems compared to those who were not.

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