PETALING JAYA: Setting up more field hospitals and allocating more beds for intensive care is not a solution to the Covid-19 pandemic, says Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah.
As Malaysia breached the half-a-million mark in the Covid-19 caseload yesterday, he once again stressed that people have the biggest role to play in breaking the chain of infection.
“We want people to conduct their own self-lockdown for two weeks to break the chain of infection, ” he told a press conference yesterday.
Those who have urgent matters to attend to should follow the required standard operating procedure (SOP), he added.
“It is humans who move and gather. The virus doesn’t move and gather.
“The virus, however, can get into the lungs, ” he said, noting concerns about new Covid-19 variants that are more aggressive.
On wearing two layers of face masks, Dr Noor Hisham said the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) had recommended this as it protects against 95% of viruses, especially at high-risk places such as hospitals.
This applied to three-ply or N95 facemasks and not fabric masks, he added.
“It is encouraged but not a must, ” he said, adding that medical publication The Lancet had reported the possibility of Covid-19 being airborne and not just spreading through droplets.
Dr Noor Hisham said another 6,317 cases were reported yesterday, bringing the cumulative cases to 505,115 since the first case in the country was recorded on Jan 25 last year.
Selangor recorded the highest number of cases at 1,647, followed by Sarawak (749), Kuala Lumpur (654), Kelantan (613), Johor (477) and Penang (359).
A total of 4,694 patients were discharged in the preceding 24 hours, while 449,234 patients or 88.9% have recovered from Covid-19 in the country with active cases now at 53,682.
There are 650 patients in intensive care units (ICUs), with 370 of them requiring ventilator support.
Dr Noor Hisham also said another 50 people died of the virus yesterday, bringing the death toll since the pandemic broke out to 2,199 people or 0.44% of all cases.
Another 17 new clusters were detected, bringing the total to 2,001 clusters. There are 535 active clusters, while 1,466 clusters have ended.
In a Facebook post earlier yesterday, Dr Noor Hisham said nationwide, around 91% of the beds in ICUs nationwide are occupied.
This has led to non-Covid-19 patients facing difficulties in getting the necessary critical care.
“Hospitals have had to repurpose other areas like normal wards into temporary ICUs by equipping their beds with the necessary medical equipment, ” he wrote.
He said the ICUs in Hospital Kajang and Hospital Banting were now at 317% and 200% capacity.
The ICU in Hospital Sungai Buloh, the main Covid-19 hospital in the Klang Valley, is now operating at 111% capacity.
Dr Noor Hisham said the healthcare system was under great pressure and that it would take about two weeks to determine if the ongoing third movement control order or MCO 3.0, from May 12 to June 7, has been successful.