PUTRAJAYA, Jan 5– The Health Ministry (MOH) is considering isolating and quarantining COVID-19 patients who are asymptomatic and those with mild symptoms at home as existing health facilities are increasingly limited following the spike in daily cases.
Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said so far the number of active COVID-19 cases was 22,089 and fast approaching the MOH’s quarantine capacity of 23,000 cases to be placed in hospitals and Covid-19 Quarantine and Low-Risk Treatment Centres (PKRC).
Dr Noor Hisham said the number of patients who were positive but asymptomatic and those with mild symptoms had reached 89 to 90 per cent of the overall number of cases.
“The PKRCs are already full so we have to give priority to cases that do not have a suitable places to be quarantined for example for foreign workers placed at the Malaysia Agro Exposition Park Serdang (MAEPS)and we are also looking at the criteria to see whether to quarantine positive but asymptomatic cases and those with mild symptoms at home.
Meanwhile, Dr Noor Hisham said the delay by health workers to transfer patients from home to the hospitals and PKRCs was due to the high number of daily cases.
On the allegation that patients at the Sungai Buloh Hospital were discharged without going through the second COVID-19 screening test, he said the 10-day quarantine period was sufficient as the level of virus infection decreases or disappears after that period.
“Based on data from the World Health Organisation, if we quarantine for a period of 10 days, we can allow patients to be discharged without conducting tests, and if tests are carried out it may be positive but the infection is reduced or is no more.
“Positive results will occur within two to three weeks or some up to 70 days but what is important is the infection, whether we can control the infection. So after 10 days the risk is very low, so we can discharge patients without performing the test,” he said.