Dr Adeeba: Dangerous to reopen the country now

Our public healthcare are desperately looking for beds and creating an ICU to keep people alive


IT WILL be dangerous to reopen businesses and social activities abruptly amid the country’s high Covid-19 vaccination rate, said University of Malaya medicine and infectious diseases Prof Datuk Dr Adeeba Kamarulzaman.

She said that there are several indicators that need to be guided before reopening the economy since the active cases continued to climb.

“First is the incidence number for Malaysia is currently sitting at 200 to 300 new cases per 100,000 population, which set the community level at foul based on the World Health Organisation standard,” Dr Adeeba said during MIDF Conversations webinar yesterday.

Other indicators that should be considered are the percentage of positive cases and the intensive care unit (ICU) utilisation in the hospitals.

“Our ICU beds in Klang Valley hospitals are off the scale where the doctors in some hospitals have to decide whose ventilators need to be turn off so it can be used for another Covid-19 patients who also need a ventilator,” she added.

Dr Adeeba, who is also a member of the National Recovery Council, pressed that she is not a proponent of lockdown as she is concerned with the increasing rate of suicide and domestic violence.

“However, our public healthcare are desperately looking for beds and creating an ICU to keep people alive. Hence, reopening the community and economy is a little pre-mature although if we have reached 100% rates of vaccinated population,” Dr Adeeba added.

Malaysia reported another record breaking figure of 20,596 cases yesterday.

Half of the new cases were reported in the Klang Valley, with Selangor detected 8,549 positive cases and Kuala Lumpur (KL) with 2,163 cases.

Dr Adeeba maintained that those health indicators and parameters must be met before opening up the community, or the country could face serious repercussions.

“At our current situation, I disagree with opening indoor dining and the gym in Selangor and KL because as soon as we take our mask off, the risk of transmission is high even to the people who are fully vaccinated,” she said.

According to Dr Adeeba, about 70% of Covid-19 cases in Malaysia are unlinked, making it difficult to detect where the cases originated.

“The lockdown is not as stringent as it was, so we must continue to expand the testing and contact tracing and isolation to support those who are infected. That is our No 1 handicapped, because we do not have an automated system so there will be a delay in every part of the process,” Dr Adeeba stated.

Finance Minister Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Tengku Abdul Aziz said in the 64th Laksana Report yesterday that Malaysia will be basing the severity of the Covid-19 cases as an indicator for states to move from Phase 3 of the National Recovery Plan to Phase 4.

However, indicators of vaccination rates and ICU utilisation rates are still maintained, Tengku Zafrul said.