COVID-19: MOH better prepared to handle third wave – Health DG

Putrajaya – The Ministry of Health (MOH) is now better prepared for handling the third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic which is more challenging, after learning from its experiences in tackling the outbreak since March.

Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said that claims that the COVID-19 pandemic in Sabah has worsened, on top of various shortages including hospital beds and personal protective equipment (PPE), are untrue.

Apart from the mobilisation of personnel and equipment in advance, the government also approved emergency procurement totalling RM25 million, of which RM18 million is for PPE and another RM7 million to be distributed to hospitals and district health offices.

He said that Sabah has nine hospitals designated to treat COVID-19 as well as 28 quarantine and low-risk and treatment centres (PKRC) with a total of 8,539 beds, and the MOH was constantly monitoring stocks of PPE in Sabah to ensure uninterrupted supply.

“A total of 149 beds in the Intensive Care Units (ICUs) are currently 60 per cent utilised and 193 breathing aids with 27 per cent utilisation,” he said in response to a question from a journalist during his daily press conference on COVID-19 here.

“We have a lot more capacity…hence, the claims are incorrect. Those who say the health system is inadequate, perhaps they didn’t go down to the ground to check (the situation),” he said.

Meanwhile, Dr Noor Hisham said that 7.7 per cent of the infections were in prisons, but the spread could be controlled and the MOH would increase control activities in prisons, immigration detention depots and temporary detention depots in Sabah.

Even before the recent state election, MOH had worked with Malaysian Armed Forces (MAF) and Royal Malaysia Police (PDRM) to tighten border controls for undocumented migrants and mount more roadblocks.

“Other activities also have been implemented before but have not being announced, in terms of mobilisation of hospital staff, equipment and others to the respective hospitals,” he said.

Sabah today recorded 503 new cases or 60.3 per cent from 834 new cases reported nationwide. – Bernama

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