PETALING JAYA: To curb the spread of Covid-19, Health director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah says the ministry is conducting surveillance in targeted communities to identify asymptomatic patients.
According to Dr Noor Hisham, this approach was based on cost-effectiveness and is enforced in other countries which have succeeded in combating Covid-19 without conducting mass screening.
“This approach also requires the prudent use of medical supplies in order to avoid wastage as the war on Covid-19 is far from over, ” said Dr Noor Hisham during a press conference on Friday (July 3).
He said the clinical surveillance system had been in place since Feb 12 at chosen clinics and hospitals under the Health Ministry.
Noting that the selected clinics and hospitals were known as “sentinel sites", Dr Noor Hisham said there were already 26 such locations throughout the country.
Dr Noor Hisham said the clinical surveillance system had taken samples from patients with influenza-like illness (ILI) randomly at every “sentinel site".
He also said the clinical surveillance system includes the testing of every severe acute respiratory infection (SARI) patient and pre-surgery case in all hospitals.
Up till July 2, the Health Ministry had cumulatively reported 113 Covid-19 cases that were detected through clinical surveillance.
The figure consisted of 15 positive cases in 2,507 ILI samplings, 77 positive cases from 19,422 SARI samplings, and 21 positive cases from 51,870 pre-surgery samplings.
“Surveillance acts as an early detection and early warning system for Covid-19. This system allows the government to take Covid-19 preventative measures immediately, ” he added.