COVID-19 patients to be discharged after 14 days – Health DG


All COVID-19 patients in the country will be discharged even if they still test positive after 14 days of hospital treatment, said Health director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah (picture).

He said this was based on the latest information issued by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and researches conducted by South Korea and Taiwan which showed that the level of infectivity of a COVID-19 patient was almost zero after 14 days.

“This information will change the Ministry of Health’s (MOH) SOP (standard operating procedure) and protocols in managing COVID-19 patients.

“The MOH will inform all hospital specialists of the new protocols that will be implemented, with COVID-19 patients to be treated for just 14 days,” he said at the daily press conference on COVID-19 today.

Dr Noor Hisham said this when asked about national hammer thrower Jackie Wong, who is still warded 70 days after being confirmed to be COVID-19 positive.

He said that based on the latest information (issued by the WHO), even though the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test was positive, hospitals could discharge the patients after 14 days.

“What is important is the patient’s level of infectivity,” he added.

Previously, Dr Noor Hisham had said that COVID-19 patients in the country would be treated in hospitals for more than two weeks.

Meanwhile, when asked how detainees in the Bukit Jalil Immigration Detention Depot, who have been there from before March 18, could have contracted the virus, Dr Noor Hisham said it was possible that they may have been infected by staff providing cleaning services.

 “We are investigating the cause of the infections because the detention centres have very confined spaces. More importantly, however, is that the situation is under control now… and investigations are still ongoing,” he said.