Health Minister: Emergency Ordinance enhances Health Ministry's capability to contain pandemic

PUTRAJAYA (Bernama): The Emergency (Essential Powers) Ordinance 2021 gazetted on Jan 14 is one of the important instruments in optimising the capability of the Health Ministry (MOH) to manage the Covid-19 pandemic, says Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Adham Baba.

He stressed that the Emergency Ordinance and the five strategies laid out by MOH were effective in the efforts to flatten the Covid-19 curve in Malaysia.

The five strategies are breaking the Covid-19 chain, reducing morbidity and mortality, strengthening diagnostics and surveillance for early detection of Covid-19 cases, achieving herd immunity and increasing awareness and embracing the new normal.

Dr Adham said the Ordinance allowed the private sector’s involvement in helping the government to contain the Covid-19 pandemic, among others.

"During movement control order (MCO) 1.0 and 2.0, general practitioners (GP) have no authority to do so but with the Emergency Ordinance, those registered with MOH can now authorise HSO (Home Surveillance and Observation), are empowered to run CAC (Covid-19 assessment centre), treat and monitor category one and two Covid-19 patients.

"Besides that, the Ordinance also allows private health facilities to be used in treating Covid-19 patients and ensures the maximum fee for detection tests conducted by laboratories and private health facilities are set at RM150 for RT PCR test, RM60 for RTK Antigen and RM50 for RTK antibodies in the Peninsula," he told reporters here on Saturday (June 19).

Dr Adham said apart from enabling the acquisition of important national assets, the Ordinance also allowed medical practitioners to be stationed in areas other than those specified in the Annual Practicing Certificate.

Meanwhile, when asked about the National Recovery Plan, the rehabilitation plan in the fight against Covid-19, he said the first phase (in June) was implemented when the number of daily cases breached 4,000 cases with the response capacity of health services was limited and at a critical level.

Dr Adham said to move from the first to the second phase (July-August), the average number of Covid-19 cases should be between 2,000 and 4,000 for seven consecutive days and the utilisation rate for ICU beds should range between 50 to 70%, adding the vaccine administration must be at least 10%.

"The rehabilitation plan can be extended to the third phase (September-October) when the average seven-day case drops to less than 2,000 but over 500 cases a day, response capacity is adequate with ICU bed utilisation rate is less than 50% and vaccinations have reached 40%, ” he said.

Meanwhile, Dr Adham said under the fourth phase, the seven-day rate of Covid-19 cases should be less than 500, ICU bed utilisation rate is less than 50% and vaccination coverage has reached about 60%.

He said before the lockdown enforcement on June 1, the ICU bed utilisation rate had reached 108%, but dropped to 94% after two weeks of MCO 3.0.

Meanwhile, Dr Adham said the threshold value for the seven-day average of Covid-19 cases was set based on positivity rate, R-naught value, the emergence of new variants and the capability of the health service system, including admissions to hospitals and Low-Risk Covid-19 Quarantine and Treatment Centres.

It also depended on the capacity of these premises to treat Covid-19 cases, as well as the availability of health personnel in the ICU, the capability to conduct case investigations in the field either at hospitals or homes, to make daily follow-up on positive Covid-19 cases placed under HSO and to carry out close contact investigations, he said. - Bernama

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