No return of MCO, five-point strategy to deal with surge in Covid-19 cases

PETALING JAYA: Malaysia is not considering reactivating its movement control order (MCO) despite a sharp increase in Covid-19 cases nationwide, says Datuk Seri Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad.

The Health Minister said the country would not reinstate procedures taken during the early days of the Covid-19 pandemic, which began in 2020.

He also said the Health Ministry had prepared a five-point strategy to deal with the recent increase in Covid-19 cases in the country.

This includes early case detection via the Heightened Alert System (HAS), community tracing via TRIIS (test, report, isolate, inform and seek) system, monitoring of health facilities, effective risk communication and digitisation of the health system via the MySejahtera application.

"At present, the situation is not causing a burden on our health facilities.

"Do not be alarmed, but at the same time, take precautionary measures.

"Maintain your distance from one another, practice good hygiene, wear masks in indoor or crowded spaces and get booster shots, especially those in the high-risk categories.

"For those in categories one and two, self-isolation by staying at home is sufficient, but those in categories three, four and five should go to the hospital," he added.

He also said all health facilities nationwide are ready for "any eventuality".

Dr Dzulkefly said from Dec 10 to 16, 20,696 cases were reported nationwide, a sharp increase of 62.2% compared with the previous week.

Nevertheless, he said 97% of new cases comprise those in the low-risk categories (one and two).

At the moment, he said 28 deaths have been recorded, 151 patients are currently in the intensive care unit (ICU), and 96 people require breathing assistance.

He said most deaths comprise those over the age of 60 (85%) as well as patients with chronic illnesses (93%), adding that the current fatality rate stands at 0.1%.

"We are prepared for a surge in cases where our health facilities, be it public, private, universities, the military and non-governmental organisations, are ready to receive patients.

"Basically, we are ready for any eventuality. Beds, access and treatments are all on standby, and so for those concerned, know that the ministry is taking all precautions," Dr Dzulkefly said during a press conference on Monday (Dec 18).

Of the total new cases, he said 20,677 comprise Malaysians, and 609 are foreigners, adding that there have also been 19 imported cases involving 18 Malaysians and one foreigner.

He added that there are currently 18 clusters recorded nationwide.

Dr Dzulkefly also said there have been no reports of new variants in the country except for the existing Omicron and its sub-variants.

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