PUTRAJAYA, Oct 28 — Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah today admitted to facing sleepless nights, stress as well as mental and physical fatigue in dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic. 

He said these were also what others in the Health Ministry have been facing, but added they continue to persevere despite the multiple challenges faced in the past 10 months. 

“Everyone in MoH has been doing the best they can. Perhaps some may have been affected by stress, including the Health DG himself, who goes through high levels of stress at times.

“There have been sleepless nights thinking how we are going to get through this problem, but so far, we can still deal with it,” he said at the media conference on COVID-19 developments here today. 

Dr Noor Hisham said while participating in a video conference with medical experts in Sabah this morning, he found most of them still in high spirits.

Dr Noor Hisham said health workers must be good at managing rotating work schedules so that they have time to rest.

“But sometimes, when there is time to rest, it is not possible to do so, you are up in the middle of the night thinking about how to solve the problems. These are all challenges for all of us whether on the field, frontline or behind the scenes,” he said. 

On the total number of health workers infected with COVID-19, Dr Noor Hisham said so far, 949 health workers had tested positive. 

He said most of them were infected in the community and not from COVID-19 wards or the intensive care unit (ICU).

“What is important is that when they are exposed to positive cases, we have to quarantine them within a certain period. The important thing is that they have to comply with standard operating procedures (SOPs).

“For example, if they serve in the ICU and COVID-19 wards, they have to comply with the existing SOPs, but many of the infections do not happen in the ICU or COVID-19 ward but from the community.

He said the two groups most at risk of being infected are family members to positive patients and health workers.


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