Ward visitations still restricted

by S BIRRUNTHA/ pic by MUHD AMIN NAHARUL

DESPITE the decreasing number of locally transmitted Covid-19 cases in the country, ward visitations are still subjected to strict guidelines.

Health DG Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said visitors should not bring at-risk groups, especially children, when visiting patients in hospital wards.

“To date, we are still restricting visitations as we are aware of the high risk of communicable diseases and I strongly advise the public not to bring children.

“Those who come will also be screened before being allowed to enter,” he said at the Covid-19 press conference in Putrajaya yesterday.

Fifteen new Covid-19 cases were reported yesterday, involving 13 foreigners and two import cases among citizens.

Of the 13 locally transmitted cases among foreigners, one case was detected from a pre-surgical screening in the Selayang Hospital and 12 cases were identified from the Pedas cluster.

Dr Noor Hisham said so far, a total of 316 positive cases have been identified in the Pedas cluster, including the 12 new cases reported yesterday.

He added that the Ministry of Health had also screened 957 close contacts of their co-workers and family members for Covid-19 infection.

He said all the positive cases involved 14 Malaysians and 302 foreigners.

“Of the 302 foreigners, 163 are Nepalis, 67 Bangladeshis, 35 Myanmarese, 31 Indonesians and four Indians,” Dr Noor Hisham added.

Among the active cases yesterday, two were placed in the intensive care unit, with none of them requiring respiratory aid.

The increase in new cases has brought the current active cases to 289 and the country’s overall total to 8,587.

Meanwhile, 21 patients recovered yesterday, increasing the recovered cases percentage to 95.2%, which equals to 8,177.

No new deaths have been recorded as the country’s death tally stands at 121.

Dr Noor Hisham also said the ministry has stopped using hydroxychloroquine on Covid-19 patients, seeing that it has no effect on those infected with the infection.

He added that previously, the drug was used on Covid-19 patients as an off-label medication as it has anti-inflammatory properties.

“However, when we collected the data after around 500 cases, we found that there was no positive effect of the medication. We stopped using it after we found that there is no effect.

“At the same time, we were also informed that there was a 30% complication rate on using the medication, as it can affect the heart and so on. So, we had to monitor its usage,” he said, adding that hydroxychloroquine is a malaria medication that was previously used and tested on Covid-19 patients.

Dr Noor Hisham said other medications being tested on Covid-19 patients include drugs used for HIV patients, which is still being studied.

He added that although Malaysia has been identified as one of the World Health Organisation centres to study this pandemic, the country currently does not have enough patients to test these drugs.