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Current Covid-19 SOPs to remain, says health DG

Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah says key indicators will be studied before a decision is made to tighten them, if necessary.

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Travellers from China queue at the arrival hall of KLIA in Sepang today. Photo: Bernama
Travellers from China queue at the arrival hall of KLIA in Sepang today. Photo: Bernama

The health ministry has decided to maintain its Covid-19 SOPs for now and will examine seven key indicators in the country before deciding to tighten these if necessary.

Health director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said the ministry would monitor the situation in the country and further strengthen public health control before taking action.

"We will first monitor not only hospital admissions but also many other indicators such as forecast cases, daily cases and so on.

"If the data shows improvement in all available indicators, we can discuss the appropriate action at that time," he said at the health minister’s engagement session with the media in Putrajaya today.

Also present were Health Minister Dr Zaliha Mustafa, health deputy director-general (public health) Dr Norhayati Rusli and Institute for Clinical Research director Dr M Kalairasu.
Noor Hisham said the indicators include a sudden increase in imported cases where currently only three or four cases are recorded per month, and the discovery of new variants in sewage samples and at high-risk places.

"What worries us is that when a new variant is found, we are not sure whether our vaccine is effective or not. 

"We will also check with WHO (World Health Organization) whether another variant has been registered or not," he said.

He said if a new variant other than Omicron is detected, the ministry will monitor the extent of infectivity and the severity or hospitalisation rate.

Another indicator is an increase in cases of influenza-like illness and severe acute respiratory infections at selected health facilities. If the records show a sudden increase in cases, the ministry will take more detailed measures to control them, he said.
Noor Hisham said that another indicator would be the capacity of the public health system. For example, he said, if bed occupancy and ICU admissions for Covid-19 patients exceed 30%, the ministry will take the appropriate action.

Another indicator that will be monitored is an increase in deaths, which is currently one figure per day. If there is a three-digit jump, the ministry will investigate the extent of the severity of the virus, he said.

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