‘Opt for self-quarantine if no serious symptoms’

Do your part: Anas (left) and Hussamuddin.

PETALING JAYA: To lessen the burden on Covid-19 quarantine centres nationwide, two prominent public figures have appealed to Covid-19 patients to practise self-quarantine at home if they do not display any serious symptoms.

This call was made by veteran journalist Datuk Dr Hussamuddin Yaacub and moderation advocate Anas Zubedy, who both recently contracted Covid-19, as suggestions to mitigate the issue of the national healthcare system being strained to breaking point at the moment.

Hussamuddin said if Category 1 and 2 Covid-19 patients opt to practise self-quarantine at home, it could tremendously reduce the burden on not just quarantine centres, but also Covid-19 assessment centres (CAC) across the country.

“We could free up lots of bed space and manpower, and Category 3 patients will also be able to have quality medical attention if this is done.” Hussamuddin, who is the chairman of the Karangkraf Group that publishes Sinar Harian, said it has been more than a year since the Covid-19 pandemic began and the public must do their part to reduce the pressure on the healthcare system, otherwise our frontliners will be burnt out.

Hussamuddin proposed for the government to draft new plans for asymptomatic patients to practise self-quarantine and to increase existing penalties for flouting standard operating procedure.

“There must be a big change in the way we manage positive cases, which means the authorities, with cooperation from the rakyat, should lessen the burden on our frontliners, ” he added.

Covid-19 patients are categorised into five stages. Category 1 refers to asymptomatic patients, 2 are symptomatic patients without any lung infection, and 3 are those with symptoms and lung infection.

Category 4 patients require ventilator assistance while level 5 patients are those deemed critical with multiple organ complications.

On Monday, Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Adham Baba said Category 1 and 2 patients are allowed to be treated at home if they do not have any other medical conditions and live in a house that allows for social distancing and with access to a private bathroom.

For Malaysians in the B40 group, Hussamuddin suggested that political parties and religious bodies set up communal quarantine centres for them.

“That means mosques, surau, temples or churches can be converted into mini quarantine centres and it will be managed by committees or political parties themselves. But, they must be very disciplined and responsible.”

Hussamuddin also recounted his experience of recently contracting Covid-19 after attending a dinner with Communications and Multimedia Minister Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah on April 26, and subsequently tested negative for Covid-19 twice.

“So, I went for a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test on the same day later that afternoon on May 10 and I tested positive, but it was a borderline case.”

At the same time, Anas, who tested positive for Covid-19 after attending the same dinner with Hussamuddin and Saifuddin, also recounted his personal experience of being an asymptomatic patient.

“There were no throat pains and basically, I was completely normal.

“So, I think we should allow those without symptoms to self-quarantine.

“Our healthcare personnel are already fatigued and we need to help them.”

Anas also said it is vital for those under self-quarantine to be disciplined and avoid meeting people, as he said it was high time society cooperated with the authorities in the battle against Covid-19.

“You must understand that if you are exposed to someone positive, you could be risking someone else’s life and that is evil, ” he added.

On Sunday, the Selangor Health Department said healthcare workers in the MAEPS quarantine centre in Serdang are facing a challenging situation with more Category 3 patients being admitted.

Daily figures of new Covid-19 cases have surged in recent days and the highest number of deaths in a single day since the pandemic broke out last March was recorded on Tuesday.

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