Covid-19: Do not balik kampung during the holidays, says health DG

Dr Noor Hisham – Picture from The Star

By John Isaac

THE Ministry of Health (MOH) said today it does not recommend Malaysians to “balik kampung” or return to their hometowns, as Covid-19 cases continue to rise towards the end of the year.

Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said MOH is in the process of developing guidelines for districts and states to use, in order to protect “green zones” from turning to red’

“Well our advice is don’t ‘balik kampung’,” Dr Noor Hisham said when answering a question on what advice he’d give to people who want to return to their hometowns from a red zone.

“This is because you can carry the infection from the red to the green zone,” he added in his daily press conference as reported by the Malay Mail.

According to the latest statistics provided by the Mortality Review Committee and the National Institute of Health Malaysia, the most vulnerable people are the elderly and those with comorbidity issues.

The stats showed that for every 1,000 positive cases there are six deaths. Those aged above 60 have a 64 per cent rate of death and 87 per cent of those have at least one comorbidity issue.

Dr Noor Hisham said one way of protecting these groups is to follow the SOPs in place strictly or not coming in close contact with them which means no ‘balik kampung’.

“If you ‘balik kampung’, you may be carrying this infection to the elderly. Besides that, the reason those with comorbidity issues are so vulnerable to infection is because compared to a young person, the elderly’s antibodies are not as strong.

“That’s why we are looking at the old folks’ homes and Orang Asli communities in these green zones and we are formulating SOPs and guidelines to ensure those from the red zone don’t spread the infection to the green zones,” Dr Noor Hisham said.

“These guidelines will outline the do’s and don’ts and one of the considerations is to increase screenings,” he added.

Malaysia recorded its highest ever daily cases with 1,884 cases yesterday. Of that total, 1,209 infections were detected in Selangor followed by Sabah and Kuala Lumpur.