Health D-G asks Malaysians not to let their guard down as Covid-19 cases keep rising

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Learn from India.

As Covid-19 cases rise alarmingly, Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah asked Malaysians not to let their guard down as the fight to contain the virus still rages on.

This follows after several states and areas, especially within the Klang Valley, have been put under a new movement control order (MCO) due to rising Covid-19 cases in the last two weeks.

At a press conference today, Noor Hisham said it is always difficult to balance between lives and livelihoods, but repeatedly stressed the need for people to comply with standard operating procedures (SOPs) and adapt to the new norms.

“It is very challenging to strike the right balance because health is important, but the economy is equally important.

“So now if the cases increase, the economy will have to compromise in terms of activities,” he said.

“We need to look at new ways of doing things, we need to adapt to the new environment. It shows that we are not adapting to the new environment, but the virus is adapting to us faster and infecting us faster.

“It is still not too late, we have not failed but we have not won, we have not failed, we continued to fight for the last 16 months, so we hope we can curb the infection in time to come.

“So, we need co-operation from everyone. If we can just comply with the SOPs. Compliance is number 1. Our concern is when we succeed, this will breed complacency, complacency will breed failure,” he added.

Noor Hisham explained that people need to adapt to new norms such as working from home, mask compliance and other practises that have been touted as the means to curb the infection.

When asked whether Malaysia is entering a fourth wave of Covid-19 infections, Noor Hisham said that isn’t the case as at the moment the data indicates more sporadic cases within the community compared to Covid-19 clusters.

The next four weeks are crucial for the nation to contain the spread of Covid-19 and ensure the public healthcare system does not collapse, said Noor Hisham.

The director-general of health’s warning comes as the use of beds in intensive care units (ICU) at government and private hospitals reaches maximum.

“If you are infected and come to hospital, and if we do not have ICU beds, we are in trouble.

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“We do not want to end up like countries where we have to choose who lives and who dies,” he said, indirectly referring to the Covid-19 situation in India.

“This is a very crucial two to four weeks for us to contain the infections. We cannot succeed without the cooperation of the people.

“So, we have to comply with the SOP. Stay home as much as possible.

“Public and private hospitals are running out of beds.”

Noor Hisham advised Muslims to celebrate the upcoming Hari Raya among family members rather than inviting guests.

Comparing the figures, he said the celebration, which was held in a modest manner last year, did not contribute to a surge in cases.

“Have an in-house Hari Raya, not an open house” he advised.

“Celebrate among yourselves, just like what we did last year. If we do the same, we can contain the infections.”

Noor Hisham also advised people to avoid large gatherings such as weddings and funerals, which he said could be a potential coronavirus super spreader.

He said Malaysia must learn from India. The subcontinent saw various social gatherings recently, which led to a sharp rise in Covid-19 cases and deaths.