Health DG: The war is far from over

PUTRAJAYA: While the movement control order (MCO) has somewhat prevented a surge of Covid-19 cases, the Health Ministry warns that the war against the disease is far from over.

Health director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah (pic) said the government was still closely monitoring the infection before deciding whether the MCO should be extended beyond April 14.

“We are monitoring very closely in terms of the increase of positive cases, and its distribution in districts and states.

“As far as we are concerned, there’s no exponential growth as seen.

“We have not won the war yet, but neither have we lost it,” he said at the ministry’s daily Covid-19 press conference here yesterday.

When asked on his views on the possible extension of the MCO, Dr Noor Hisham said scientific data was more important than people’s opinion in such matters.

“The Health Ministry operates based on fact and science. It is not about my opinion.

“We are doing our own modelling in terms of case projection. We have seen the initial reports but we still need a day or two to analyse the data.

“With the data we have in hand, the ministry will submit a proposal to the Cabinet and the Prime Minister. The decision lies with the Cabinet,” said Dr Noor Hisham.

The country is currently in its second phase of the MCO, after the initial one from March 18-31.

Yesterday, Dr Noor Hisham announced 156 more new Covid-19 cases in Malaysia, taking the country’s tally to 4,119.

However, Malaysia recorded more recoveries than new infections yesterday, with 166 patients discharged as of noon.

In total, 1,487 patients have recovered from Covid-19 in Malaysia since the outbreak began in January.

He also reported two new deaths, which brings the death toll in Malaysia to 65.

One of the victims was a 58-year-old Malaysian woman who was treated at the Tuanku Ja’afar Hospital in Seremban.

She had a history of diabetes and high blood pressure.

The other fatality was a Pakistani man aged 69, who attended the tabligh gathering at Masjid Jamek Sri Petaling.

Dr Noor Hisham said about three-quarters of the 65 Covid-19 deaths here were associated with those having comorbidities.

Comorbidity means more than one disease or condition is present in the same person at the same time.

“In terms of comorbidities such as diabetes, hypertension, ischaemic heart disease or cardiovascular disease, the percentage (of death cases) is about 75%.

“The symptoms would be worse compared to a person who does not have comorbidities,” said Dr Noor Hisham, adding that 60% of the deaths seen here so far were of patients aged 60 years and above.

He said about 30% of the deaths were linked to the Sri Petaling cluster.

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