The Health Ministry is projecting four to five weeks to reduce the daily cases of Covid-19 to between 1,000 and 500.
Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said the reduction in the number of new cases would enable health facilities to accommodate and treat Covid-19 patients.
He said within two weeks of the Movement Control Order (MCO), the Health Ministry will be able to see if the number of new cases can be reduced.
“We hope to reduce the number of cases to 1,000 or 500, within the next four weeks and flatten the curve in May, provided that the public continues to adhere to the standard operating procedures (SOP) during MCO,” he told a daily press conference today.
Meanwhile, Dr Noor Hisham said the usage of Intensive Care Units and ventilators have doubled, compared to last month.
Citing the Sungai Buloh Hospital as an example, he said the hospital still has the capacity, but it is short of manpower.
“We need more staff to open up more space and we are looking on how we can increase the manpower, in which the Public Service Department is helping us to look into more posts such as nurses.
“We are in the process to recruit more (people) into our system,” he said.
He said the ICU at Sungai Buloh Hospital was currently at its full capacity with the manpower that they have, but it could be expanded to have up to 110 beds.
He said should other hospitals also take in Covid-19 patients, the non-Covid-19 patients would be neglected.
Dr Noor Hisham said the ministry was in talks with private hospitals to accommodate Covid-19 and non-Covid -19 patients.
“Tomorrow, we will have a meeting with private hospitals to discuss this matter.”
At the press conference, Dr Noor Hisham said the ministry was concerned about the increase of daily cases.
“If we have 3,000 cases daily, 10 percent will be admitted to the hospital. Another 85 percent in Category 1 and 2, of those symptomatic and having mild symptoms will be admitted to the Covid-19 Quarantine and Low-Risk Treatment Centre (PKRC).
“Unfortunately, we cannot accommodate all positive cases.”
He said the ministry was looking at three options, namely home-quarantine, the use of hostels, and hotels.
He also said it would take 12 weeks to flatten the curve of Covid-19 new cases.
This projection was based on current Health Ministry data, which Dr Noor Hisham said could change after two weeks of movement control order (MCO).
“In terms of flattening the curve, we expect to see it in 12 weeks. We will implement (the MCO) for two weeks. We’ll see later if we need (to take further action).
“Based on the data, in May, we can flatten the curve in the country,” he said.
The ministry believes that the trend in the number of daily cases that Malaysia is currently seeing may not go down in just two weeks of MCO.
However, Dr Noor Hisham stressed, they are hoping to at least prevent the figure from increasing further.
“In my opinion, we may not be able to bring down the numbers in just two weeks. However, what we can do is to prevent the number of cases from going further up.
“And if we do this (MCO) for four weeks, Insha Allah, we can bring down the cases to 1,000 (a day),” he said.
Dr Noor Hisham said that the MCO would be followed by another conditional MCO period to achieve their target. A conditional MCO is a less severe form compared to the full MCO.
He did not commit to a fixed timeline of how long the MCO or conditional MCO would go. However, Noor Hisham did hint that the MCO may go up to four weeks if implemented in full swing this time around.
For the record, Malaysia sees a daily number of cases in the four figures, many times between 2,000 and 3,000 cases. The highest ever recorded at this juncture was yesterday, which was 3,309 cases.