Deputy health DG: Covid-19 cases to soar further, but don’t be alarmed

(Photo by Aaron Lavinsky/Star Tribune via Getty Images)

By John Isaac

DAILY Covid-19 cases are set to rise even further after they hit a record 17,045 infections a few days ago, deputy health director-general Dr Chong Chee Kheong said.

However, Chong, who is also the head of the health ministry’s Greater Klang Valley special task force, urged the public not to be alarmed over the rise in infections over the next few days.

He said the surge in cases, especially in the Klang Valley, will be caused by an increase in the use of RTK-Antigen test kits and with the ministry encouraging more people to undergo self-tests.

“We can expect the number of cases to rise in the next few days. Do not be alarmed by this. We need to identify as many cases as possible to reduce transmission in the community,” he said in a statement today.

“As more of these positive cases and their contacts are isolated and quarantined, cases will start to gradually come down in the weeks to come.

“Once that happens, the testing will be re-strategised to ensure effective detection of cases for isolation and monitoring.”

On why cases were still rising in the Klang Valley despite more people being vaccinated, Chong admitted that the size of the outbreak was “far larger” than the infections detected daily.

He attributed this to asymptomatic or pre-symptomatic patients who spread the virus since they were not aware they had been infected.

He said another factor was the more infectious Delta variant, which had been observed in other nations to be still spreadable among those who were vaccinated, though hospitalisations and severe symptoms were significantly reduced.

Chong advised those residing in the Klang Valley and who exhibited Covid-19 symptoms to consider themselves “possibly infected” and go for a test.

“If you are positive, please inform those you have been in contact with to quarantine for 10 days. Testing is not necessary unless they develop symptoms. What is important is to stay at home and monitor your condition daily.

“Those who think they have been exposed but are not identified as close contacts are encouraged to test at private health facilities. This includes doing a saliva-based self-test,” he said.

He said the ministry’s health interventions in the region had shifted from containing the pandemic to mitigation efforts aimed at preventing death and minimising the spread of the disease.

With that, bed and ICU capacity, oxygen supply, human resources deployment and the number of volunteers would be increased, with the army also providing logistic and manpower support.

“We appeal to the community to support us. Some can volunteer to help in the health system at Covid-19 assessment centres, health centres or hospitals. Others can volunteer to help boost the social and emotional support systems for the public,” he said. – Free Malaysia Today

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