No longer possible to contain Covid-19 spread, says ex-minister

GEORGE TOWN: Containing the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak in the country is no longer possible because it is impossible to trace all contact persons to the 428 persons infected, said former deputy health minister Dr Lee Boon Chye (pix).

He recommended generating high public awareness and upgrading the skills of the local healthcare personnel in dealing with the pandemic, as the second wave of infections begin to spread throughout the country.

The number of reported cases in the country rose to 428, with 190 fresh infections on Sunday alone. Among the Patients Under Investigations (PUI) are Human Rights Commissioners, a politician, academics and corporate managers as well as delivery workers.

In his social media posting, Lee said the number of infections is enormous for a country like Malaysia. He expects the infection rate to climb,.

“Containment is no longer possible. We should focus on mitigation to reduce the number and to fully deploy our healthcare resources,” Lee said.

He urged the ministry to only allow hospitals to treat the severe cases of Covid-19, while mild cases and PUI should be placed in isolation at special hotels or hostels.

As for the skills, Lee called for immediate crash courses for the healthcare workers, and the rush to purchase adequate equipment and medication as well as to enlarge facilities to fight the viral bug.

Lee said major gathering points from schools to institutions of higher learning and pre-schools as well as mass gatherings should be prohibited.

Former Penang health committee chairman Dr Afif Bahardin has echoed Lee’s suggestion. He wants social distancing measures to be adopted.

He also urged the public to abide by the public health guidelines.

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