It's back to normal with SARS-free declaration from WHO


  • Nation
  • Tuesday, 08 Jul 2003

By SUSAN TAM

KUALA LUMPUR: All control measures put in place to control the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) outbreak in Malaysia will cease immediately as the World Health Organisation has declared the world free from the virus. 

Health Minister Datuk Chua Jui Meng said with WHO’s latest decision to lift Taiwan from the SARS-affected list, it had declared that the chains of person-to-person transmission of the SARS virus was now broken. 

He said the Cabinet had agreed all screening measures at the checkpoints of the country (at the airports and the Causeway) to come to an end and SARS isolation wards in hospitals to return to its original purposes, adding that travellers arriving in the country would not have to fill the declaration forms. 

“The scanners purchased to screen travellers will be used for telemedicine projects and for video-conferencing purposes to enable patients in district clinics to contact their specialists in general hospitals. It can also be used for fever scanning purposes,” he said, adding that the machines would be placed in select government hospitals. 

“But, we will continue to monitor the developments of this disease and maintain the research and surveillance agreed by the Asean+3 meeting held in Cambodia recently,” he told a press conference after officially opening the First International Case-Mix Conference here yesterday. 

On the conference, he said a RM2.2mil pilot project involving 12 hospitals – nine government hospitals and three university hospitals – would test the effectiveness of the case-mix classification system. 

“If it is found to be cost-effective, it will be added to the National Healthcare Financing Scheme, which is awaiting the Cabinet’s approval,” he said. 

He said the system was a form of patient classification that categorised the severity of the patient’s illness with the cost and outcome of treatment given to the person. 

“This method has its advantages as it avoids over-usage of medication, over-servicing patients and over-allocating of resources to the hospitals by the Government,” he said.  


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