PUTRAJAYA, May 17 — The antiviral drug Paxlovid to treat COVID-19, which was previously used in health clinics and government hospitals, will be extended to private hospitals and clinics as well as teaching hospitals, said Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin.

“We have agreed to distribute (Paxlovid antiviral drug) to private hospitals, private clinics and training hospitals so that its use can be expanded,” he told reporters at the Ministry of Health’s (MOH) Hari Raya Aidilfitri 2022 celebration here today.

Khairy said so far, 405 COVID-19 patients had been given the drug and all of them had fully recovered.

“This medicine is given to those who are at high risk… maybe the group that will receive this medicine will be expanded,” he said.

On May 12, Khairy said 173 COVID-19 patients given Paxlovid had fully recovered and no side effects were reported as of May 9.

The use of the antiviral drug to treat COVID-19 patients started on April 15 at 512 COVID-19 Assessment Centres (CAC) in health clinics and 78 government hospitals.

On the increase in COVID-19 cases now, he said MOH had expected this due to the increase in public movements, especially during the Hari Raya Aidilfitri celebration.

“Overall, the rate of infectivity (Rt) today dropped to 1.04 and the daily death rate is one figure.

“Hospital admissions increased by 55 per cent in categories one and two involving those with comorbidities. In terms of infection, there is an increase in COVID-19 cases, which was expected,” he said.

He said the volatile wave of COVID-19 infection was to be expected as the country was in the transition to endemic phase.

“Infections will have ebb and flow, and MOH looks at the seriousness of cases and not the number of cases.

“If there are many cases but not severe, this means we can live with the virus. If there is a new variant that spreads quickly, we will take different actions,” he said.

Yesterday, it was reported that the number of new COVID-19 cases in the country for the 19th Epidemiological Week (ME) from May 8 to May 14 increased by 119.2 per cent to 19,137 cases, compared to 8,732 cases in the previous week (18th ME). 

Director-General of Health Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said with this development, the cumulative number of COVID-19 cases in Malaysia now stood at 4,475,873 cases with 29,762 being active cases.


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