PETALING JAYA: Former prime minister Najib Razak has spoken out against the idea of allowing low-risk Covid-19 patients to undergo quarantine and receive treatment at home.
He was responding to health director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah, who yesterday said the ministry was considering this as an option, if its quarantine and low-risk treatment centres are filled.
In a Facebook post, Najib said while Western countries were allowing asymptomatic Covid-19 patients to undergo treatment at home, these countries have recorded hundreds of thousands or millions of Covid-19 cases.
“There is no guarantee that Covid-19 patients who are quarantined at home won’t infect their family members who then have the potential to spread Covid-19 to the community.
“We have many hotels and convention centres which do not have much business, it is better if the government uses these places to quarantine Covid-19 patients. Make sure they are monitored.”
Najib said those who could afford to pay for their own quarantine costs should do so, while the government could pay for those in the B40. Alternatively, Najib said, this could be funded by the MySalam scheme.
He said the government should not risk the further spread of the virus just to save a bit of money.
“Allowing home quarantine for those returning from overseas in July led to the Sivagangga cluster in Kedah which required a lot of resources and took months to contain.
“Even though the government has corrected their mistake after I asked them multiple times, including in Parliament, to instruct them (returning Malaysians) to be quarantined at government quarantine centres it was too late. Hopefully, the government does not repeat its mistake.”
At a press conference yesterday, Noor Hisham said if implemented, the move would only apply for those who are asymptomatic, adding that other countries have taken this route.
“Previously, we admitted them to hospital. It was not to treat them but to isolate them so that they did not infect others.
“At this point in time, however, there is sufficient capacity to treat such patients at makeshift hospitals for low-risk cases,” he said.
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