Relief after release

PETALING JAYA: After 73 days cooped up in a ward, national hammer thrower Jackie Wong finally walked out of the Sibu General Hospital a relieved man.

But the super-fit young man who had started out expecting a very short stay at the hospital, was tight-lipped about his marathon confinement.

“I am just discharged, ” he said in a short text reply.

“The National Sports Council (NSC) will release the statement later.”

Efforts to reach his coaches were also futile and it is believed that the NSC have slapped a gag on all involved.

State health director, Dr Chin Zin Hing, also would not comment on his health condition.

“We are discharging Jackie today (yesterday), ” he said in his text message to The Star.

Jackie’s father, Sarikei MP Wong Ling Biu, would be discharged next week, he said.

Jackie, 27, tested positive on March 16, a day after his father, Sarikei MP Ling Biu, was tested positive with the virus.

No longer cooped-up: Hammer thrower Jackie Wong can return to training now that he has been released from the Sibu General Hospital yesterday.No longer cooped-up: Hammer thrower Jackie Wong can return to training now that he has been released from the Sibu General Hospital yesterday.

The athlete, who holds the national hammer throw record of 68.22m, had been admitted at the Sibu Hospital since then – for more than 70 days – until the World Health Organisation came to his rescue with their report that said a patient could not infect others after two weeks.

The Philippines SEA Games silver medallist had nine tests, with eight of them positive thus far.

His negative test was on March 30 and raised hopes of an early discharge from hospital as he was not on medication but only on supplements. However, it turned out to be a disappointment when all subsequent tests were positive.

On Tuesday, Health director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said that according to the new protocol based on reports from WHO, patients would be allowed to return home after 14 days of treatment.

Dr Noor Hisham said although in some cases the test results on the 13th day returned positive, the virus was actually not infectious anymore.

“According to a (recent) WHO report, if they have passed 14 days (of treatment) the chances of them infecting the others is zero, ” said Dr Noor.

Malaysian Athletics Federation (MAF) president Datuk S. M. Muthu was a relieved and happy man.

“It is a record for a fit athlete like Jackie to stay in hospital for more than 70 days. But what is important is that he is in good health and can return home.”

Muthu said he had received Jackie’s medical report from Dr Yeap Biou Seng, saying the athlete was asymptomatic.

“Although his tests came back negative and then positive, after discussions with his ID (infectious disease) physician, Jackie was found to be no longer infectious.

“Jackie does not need to be quarantined any more and he also does not need repeat swabs on him, according the doctor’s report, ” said Muthu.

Meanwhile, two former national athletes previously tested positive, have fully recovered from the virus, said National Athletes Welfare Foundation (Yakeb) chairman Datuk Noorul Ariffin Abdul Majeed.

He confirmed that the two – Ani Nios, a former track and field athlete currently in Sarawak, and national sepak takraw legend Tajuddin Adan who stays in Selangor, had been discharged from the hospital.

Noorul Ariffin said nearly half, or about 1,200 Yakeb members, were elderly and at risk of being infected with Covid-19.

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