Deaths due to virus taking a toll on frontliners

PETALING JAYA: Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah has expressed concern over the high number of deaths due to Covid-19 in the last nine days.

Since the start of the new year, he said fatalities had been increasing daily.

“Just this year alone, in the past nine days, we recorded 71 fatalities. We are very worried about this and hope God will protect all of us. #Kitajagakita, ” he said in a Facebook post yesterday.

Dr Noor Hisham said it was not easy for frontliners to handle bodies of Covid-19 victims as they needed to wear protective equipment suits in the heat during the burial process.

“I hope we will all understand the challenges faced by every frontliner in the country.

“Let’s help the country by taking care of ourselves and our families. Let us all be protected from the disaster that is Covid-19, ” he said, sharing photos of frontliners burying the victims.

Last week, Dr Noor Hisham said Covid-19 designated hospitals and low-risk treatment centres were nearing their limit with infections continuing to rise. The hospitals could accommodate 23,000 patients at a time.

He had also warned that the number of cases could reach 8,000 a day in March if the infectivity rate – known as R-naught (R0) – remained at 1.2.

Malaysia recorded 2,433 new Covid-19 cases yesterday, raising the total number of infections nationwide to 135,992.

He said local transmissions involved 1,784 Malaysians and 642 foreigners. “Seven more were imported cases, ” he said.

Selangor recorded the highest number of new cases with 730.

Dr Noor Hisham said 403 of the new cases were recorded in Sabah and 321 in Johor.

He also said 1,277 people recovered from the disease yesterday, bringing total recoveries to 108,109.

However, the death toll has also risen as nine more deaths were recorded, bringing the total number of fatalities to 551.

The deceased were aged between 37 and 94 with two of them being foreigners.

All of them also had existing conditions such as breast cancer, kidney disease, diabetes and high blood pressure.

Dr Noor Hisham said there were 171 Covid-19 patients in intensive care units with 76 on ventilators.

He also said 3.5% of the new cases were linked to clusters in lock-ups, prisons and Immigration detention centres.

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