Visiting hours in hospitals have been shortened due to Covid-19


THE visiting hours at government hospitals in Negri Sembilan and the Universiti Sains Malaysia Hospital (HUSM) in Kelantan have been shortened effective yesterday, in-line with the directive issued by the Health Ministry (MoH) on Saturday.

The move was taken following the spread of the Covid-19 in the country and as a precautionary measure to reduce the risk of infection among patients, visitors and hospital staff.

In Negri Sembilan, acting state Health director Dr Mohammad Faid Abd Rashid said the number of visitors will also be limited and children below the age of 12 would not be allowed at the hospital for visiting.

“The visiting hours have been shortened from 1pm to 2pm and 5pm to 7pm every day, including on public holidays,” he said.

In Kelantan, HUSM director Professor Datuk Dr Ahmad Sukari Halim, in a statement said the shorter visiting hours was effective yesterday and applicable including on public holidays and weekends, which is Friday and Saturday in the state.

Effective yesterday, the visiting hours at HUSM is from 1pm to 2pm and 5pm to 6.30pm, with only two visitors allowed for a patient at one time and children below the age of 12 will not be allowed to enter as visitors, he added.

He said visitors with symptoms of influenza — like sore throat, cough, flu, fever, vomiting and diarrhoea — would not be allowed in the wards, while those with chronic diseases and with low immunity, such as cancer patients undergoing treatment, would not be allowed to visit patients.

In Sabah, state Health Department director Datuk Dr Christina Rundi said all hospitals have started implementing shorter visiting hours from yesterday in a bid to reduce the risk of infection.

“Visiting hours had been shortened,” she said in a brief message to Bernama via WhatsApp yesterday.

Previously, the visiting hours were from 12.30pm to 2pm and 4.30pm to 7pm from Mondays to Thursdays; 11.30am to 2pm and 4.30pm to 7.30pm on Fridays; and 1.30pm to 7.30pm on weekends and public holidays.

Sabah has over 20 hospitals in the districts of Kota Kinabalu, Beaufort, Keningau, Tuaran, Sandakan, Kudat, Ranau and Tambunan.

Separately, the Malaysian Medical Association (MMA) suggested that the government considers extending the contracts of medical officers (MOs) and retiring medical staff.

In a statement, MMA president Dr N Ganabaskaran said apart from roping in housemen to manage the Covid-19 cases as announced on Saturday, the government should consider this suggestion as well.

“The government should consider expediting the renewal of contracts for MOs who have just been released from service due to the end of their two-year contracts.

“This will add trained personnel to the pool. The extension of short-term contracts for those retiring should be considered to strengthen the ward, clinic and operation theatre pools, while the younger generation serves at the front lines,” he said.

Commenting on the report that the MoH will take in 1,000 housemen to support medical staff in managing Covid-19 cases, the MMA clarified that the house officers would be additional hands helping in the wards, but not on the front lines.

The MMA said the house officers were also from the public healthcare sector’s ongoing intakes, most recently for April 2020.

Meanwhile, the association also emphasised the importance of primary care in managing the situation as the country has 7,000 general practitioners nationwide that can support the MoH in the screening process. — Bernama