Over 19,000 patients experience syndrome, says Noor Azmi

KUALA LUMPUR: Almost 20,000 patients who contracted Covid-19 now suffer from post-Covid-19 syndrome or long Covid, says Datuk Dr Noor Azmi Ghazali.

“As of November, there are a total of 19,890 Covid-19 patients who were given appointments for follow-up treatment at health facilities,” the Deputy Health Minister said when replying to a question raised by Lukanisman Awang Sauni (GPS-Sibuti) at the Dewan Rakyat yesterday.

He said those with long Covid exhibited five main symptoms based on observations.

He said the five main symptoms were lethargy (78.9%), breathing difficulties when performing certain tasks (52.9%), coughing (18.1%), insomnia (14.5%) and anxiety (10.4%).

Dr Noor Azmi Ghazali added that those suffering from long Covid usually experienced these symptoms four to 12 weeks after recovery, with some patients experiencing symptoms after 12 weeks.

He noted that those suffering from long Covid symptoms would be referred to specialist doctors for follow-up treatment.

He added that the follow-up treatment was based on the ministry’s post-Covid-19 Management Protocol to ensure those suffering from long Covid had access to treatment and medication.

Apart from Hospital Sungai Buloh and the UiTM Training Hospital, Dr Noor Azmi said long Covid patients were referred to treatment at 41 public and private health facilities.

To a question by Datuk Seri Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad (PH-Kuala Selangor), he said there were no specific data at the moment on the effects of long Covid on children.

Dr Dzulkefly said studies abroad showed that one out of seven children who contracted Covid-19 suffers from a cognitive deficit.

Dr Noor Azmi said treatment for long Covid patients covered a range of health issues.

The treatment, he said, covered not only treatment for physical symptoms such as cardiovascular and respiratory issues but also neurological and mental health issues.

On a separate issue raised by RSN Rayer (PH-Jelutong), Dr Noor Azmi said a follow-up test carried out on the first case of the Covid-19 variant Omicron had returned negative last Friday.

He said tests carried out on the five close contacts also returned negative.

He added that the individuals had undergone strict quarantine before their release, following the negative results.

The first Covid-19 variant Omicron was detected in a 19-year-old South African private university student in Ipoh who arrived from South Africa through Singapore on Nov 19.

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