27-year-old among eight dead

PETALING JAYA: A 27-year-old became the latest Covid-19 casualty on a day that eight deaths were reported, just as the Health Ministry drastically ramped up its capacity by preparing extra 19,200 beds to treat patients.

Health director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said the young victim had a history of diabetes, high blood pressure and kidney problems.

The country has now recorded 35 deaths.

“Of that total, 55.6% were 60-years-old and above, while 67.6% suffered from chronic illnesses such as diabetes, hypertension, kidney and heart problems.

“They are at further risk to develop more serious Covid-19 symptoms, ” he said during his daily press conference in Putrajaya yesterday.

Dr Noor Hisham also said there were 150 new Covid-19 cases, bringing the cumulative total to 2,470.

He added that 68 recovered patients had been discharged yesterday, bringing the total to 388.

“A total of 73 cases are being treated in the intensive care unit and 52 of those cases need ventilators.”

He noted that 61 of the 150 new cases reported were linked to the tabligh gathering at Masjid Jamek in Sri Petaling, Kuala Lumpur.

He reminded those at risk to take the necessary precautions to prevent themselves and their families from getting infected.

“Make sure their medication is enough and uninterrupted.

“Health services are still ongoing at all the ministry’s facilities, ” he said.

Dr Noor Hisham also said that the ministry was prepared to use all its training institutes as Covid-19 quarantine centres which would provide an additional 19,200 beds.

He said those who were asymptomatic but tested positive and those who were positive but with mild symptoms without respiratory problems would be placed in the training institutes.

“The hospitals will be reserved for moderate or critical cases.

“If there is an increase of cases then we might use the training institutes and also the temporary hospital at Malaysia Agro Exposition Park Serdang (MAEPS) that has 600 beds, ” he said.

He added that should it go up to 1,000 cases a day, the ministry might consider using indoor stadiums and public halls to place patients there.

Dr Noor Hisham also said new clusters have been forming from the fourth and fifth generations linked to the tabligh gathering in Sri Petaling.

Separately, he welcomed medical volunteers to help fight the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Until today (yesterday), 157 volunteers have joined and are placed in stages to help the Covid-19 medical assistance team. A further 1,008 medical practitioners are expected to join the teams in the hospitals.”

Dr Noor Hisham also said to help the ministry increase its testing capacity for Covid-19, the Education Ministry as well as the Science, Technology and Innovation Ministry has provided 10 additional diagnostic labs at higher education institutes and university teaching hospitals, including a moving lab that could be sent to a hotspot location.

“All 10 additional diagnostic labs will be able to conduct 42,420 tests in a month or 1,414 a day, ” he said.

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