by HARIZAH KAMEL / pic by BERNAMA
MALAYSIANS must continue to observe the standard operating procedures (SOPs) that have been put in place since the beginning of the Movement Control Order even after they have been vaccinated.
Health DG Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah (picture) said inoculation is not a passport for the people to go back to our life before Covid-19.
“We need to learn how to live with the virus and we need to empower the public to embrace the public health measures that are placed.
“I think that is how we intend to change the landscape of how we handle Covid-19 in 2021, complemented by the vaccination,” he said in a virtual press briefing last Friday.
He added that the government will also need to identify the groups that will get the shots first, with frontliners being the foremost priorities.
“We can see that among doctors and health workers, more than 4,000 are infected, while among the police, there are almost 1,000 infected cases. So, I think they will be given the preference first,” he said.
Dr Noor Hisham said there are other professions that can be considered as frontliners, such as certain members of the media.
However, he stated that frontliners are those who are dealing with Covid-19 patients daily and they need to be protected due to their extreme exposures.
As for the current backlog in the daily Covid-19 test results, Dr Noor Hisham said most delays are in private laboratories that do not enter information into the Public Health Laboratory Information System (SIMKA).
He said the Health Ministry has issued circulars to all private laboratories and private medical practitioners to ensure the entry of information and notifications are to be done as soon as possible, adding that the system will continuously be improved.
“I was informed that in Selangor, we do not have backlog issues anymore and we hope that there are no more old backlog issues. I hope private laboratories can work with the ministry to enter positive cases data as soon as possible,” he said.
Dr Noor Hisham said as cases rise, there might also be delays in conducting tests in laboratories.
“When the results are in, it might take a while to update it in SIMKA due to the overwhelming number of samples. We noticed that there are no more delays,” he commented.
He added that there was a point when even contact tracing was also not in sync between the private and public health providers, which caused delays in follow-up interventions.
Another constraint when cases increase is the ability to mobilise health workers from one state to another.
Dr Noor Hisham added that health workers from other states were sent to provide assistance in Sabah after cases surged, but now with the new wave affecting most parts of the country, health workers are needed in their home state.