‘A tough decision to make’

  • Nation
  • Wednesday, 25 Mar 2020

PETALING JAYA: Health director-general Datuk Seri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah has warned about the peril of a surge in Covid-19 cases, saying that it would lead to doctors having to decide on which patients to be given the ventilator.

“There are now 64 patients in the intensive care unit (ICU) with 27 of them on ventilators.

“The worry is if there is an exponential spike in cases. Our capabilities are limited.

“Then we have to choose which patient will have the ‘privilege’ of ventilators.

“We hope we do not come to that stage where we have to decide which patients can have ventilators and those who can’t, ” he told a press conference yesterday.

The stark reminder from Dr Noor Hisham came after Malaysia recorded 106 new cases, bringing the total number to 1,624 across the country.

There are 16 deaths.

Of the 106 new cases, Dr Noor Hisham said 43 cases were linked to the tabligh cluster in Masjid Jamek, Sri Petaling.

He noted that it was important to identify and isolate those who attended the gathering as 986 participants had tested positive.

The ministry is tracking down the remaining participants of the

gathering, who are responsible for

second and third generation infections within the community.

On the possibility of an extension to the movement control order (MCO), Dr Noor Hisham said this would depend on the evaluation of the outcome of the MCO.

“What we are doing now will only be seen in about two weeks’ time.

“I am throwing this back to you.

If you follow the MCO, then you have an opportunity to break the chain of infection.

“Success and failure depend on each and everyone of us, ” he said.

“Now, we will just monitor and study the situation, and after 10 to 12 days, we will see if we need to extend the MCO.

“We have been using the carrot approach, but perhaps it’s time for us to use the stick. The choice is really up to the public, ” he said.

On the wearing of face masks, he said: “Those who are not frontliners need not wear the mask. Practise social distancing.”

As for do-it-yourself hand sanitisers sold online, he said people should buy verified products and “not those made at the back of homes”.

On the question of blood supply at the blood bank, Dr Noor Hisham said the ministry would introduce an innovative way for the public to donate blood during the MCO.

“Instead of you coming to the blood bank or the hospital to donate blood, it will be possible for it to be done at home as we can send a team to do it, ” he said.

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