No MCO for now, says Health Minister amid surge in COVID-19 cases

DESPITE the sharp increase in COVID-19 cases in the country in the past few weeks, Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad said lockdown measures such as the movement control order (MCO) are not being considered for now.

He said there has been plenty of concerns raised among the people especially on social media concerning the rise in the number of COVID-19 cases in Malaysia.

“However, we hope that we can weather this without having to reinstate the MCO like what has happened before,” Dr Dzulkefly said at a press conference on COVID-19 at the Health Ministry on Monday (Dec 18).

“For the time being, there has been no talk of reinstating the MCO.”

It was reported earlier today that the number of COVID-19 cases recorded has increased by 62.2% to 20,696 between Dec 10 and Dec 16.

At the press conference, Dr Dzulkefly noted that 97% of the cases had exhibited mild symptoms and did not require hospitalisation.

He added, however, that there are 151 cases where patients were admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU) with 96 patients requiring respiratory assistance.

Meanwhile, 28 deaths were recorded in the past week.

The majority of these cases (97%) are in categories one and two.

“We are getting ready for any eventuality. There’s nothing to be alarmed about but don’t take things lightly,” he said at the press conference.

“Do practice preventive measures such as wearing a mask in enclosed areas, practising personal hygiene, conducting regular testing, and do not be at congested areas if you are symptomatic. Help to protect others and yourself.”

Earlier, Dr Dzulkefly highlighted a five-point strategy meant to manage the rise in COVID-19 cases.

The first strategy is early detection of COVID-19 and its variants through the ‘Heightened Alert System’, community surveillance to detect influenza-like illnesses, surveillance of cases in hospitals for cases with severe acute respiratory infections, and surveillance of wastewater from communities and at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport.

The second strategy involves strengthening the TRIIS (test, report, isolate, inform, and seek) system.

The third is to monitor health facilities, and the management and control of COVID-19 cases, especially those involving high-risk groups.

The fourth strategy is to improve communication of COVID-19 cases through data sharing, health notices, social media and other means.

The fifth is to digitalise health systems and pandemic management through MySejahtera, including making arrangements for paxlovid treatments.

However, the Health Ministry said later in the press conference that check-ins using MySejahtera will not be required just yet.

On face masks, Dr Dzulkefly said masking is highly encouraged especially in enclosed spaces, especially for those with symptoms or are at risk of infection. – Dec 18, 2023


Main pic credit: Bernama 

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