The health ministry will carry out a risk assessment of the Covid-19 infection situation in the middle of next month following the announcement by the World Health Organization (WHO) that the epidemic is no longer categorised as a global health emergency.
Its minister Dr Zaliha Mustafa said the assessment is necessary to review the declaration of local areas of infection, which will expire on June 30, and to facilitate the government in determining the next direction involving the latest protection measures against Covid-19.
Although WHO no longer categorises Covid-19 as an international health emergency, she said, the ministry needs to take into account local factors.
“We, at the technical committee, have given our views that we will continue the existing standard operating procedures and maintain the local area of infection.
"We want to see the developments because there are still Covid-19 cases, but still under control. We will look at the situation in the country first before adopting WHO's recommendations,” she told a press conference after attending a town hall session on the white paper on health for the southern zone at the higher education hub in Pagoh yesterday.
Zaliha said the ministry will also review and update the Covid-19 guidelines with reference to the WHO's recommendations regarding the long-term management transition of the pandemic.
Yesterday, foreign news agencies reported that the WHO has lifted the public health emergency of international concern status for Covid-19, but insists the disease continues to pose a global threat.
Meanwhile, commenting on the white paper on health, Zaliha said it marks the beginning of the journey of reforming the Malaysian health system towards making it more sustainable and competitive.
The white paper on health will be tabled in parliament next month, she added.
In a statement on Covid-19 cases meanwhile, Zaliha said the number of cases increased by 53.1% to 7,596 in the 8th epidemiology week (ME 18/2023), which is from April 30 to May 6, from 4,963 cases in the previous week.
"The admission rate of Covid-19 patients (including suspected patients) to public health facilities also showed an increase from 5.8% to 7.2% per 100,000 population in ME 18/2023 compared to ME 17/2023," she said, adding that the infection situation in Malaysia is still under control and does not affect the health services in hospitals.