Dr Noor Hisham: Health Ministry taking targeted approach in screening family members of Covid-19 positive cases

Dr Noor Hisham said the targeted approach is more effective because the Ministry of Health (MOH) already had information on individuals who needed to be screened. — Picture by Sayuti Zainudin
Dr Noor Hisham said the targeted approach is more effective because the Ministry of Health (MOH) already had information on individuals who needed to be screened. — Picture by Sayuti Zainudin

PUTRAJAYA, Aug 18 ― Covid-19 screenings among family members of an index case will be done using a targeted approach rather than locality-based screenings, Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said.

Dr Noor Hisham said the targeted approach is more effective because the Ministry of Health (MOH) already had information on individuals who needed to be screened.

“We can detect, monitor and track down those who are exposed to positive cases. We have their names and we have ways to track them down.

“Alhamdulillah we have tested it (the approach) when we carried out the screenings for the Tawar Cluster. We managed to detect positive cases and take preventive measures by identifying their family members either in Kedah or Penang,” he told the press conference on Covid-19 here today.

In another development, Dr Noor Hisham refuted a media report that Kedah has been declared a Covid-19 red zone, saying that the red zone was determined based on the Covid-19 situation on a certain district and not the entire state.

“It is not a red zone because it was not a focused area…the districts are mostly yellow zones. A red zone means having 40 cases and above,” he said.

So far, there are four active clusters in Kedah namely the Tawar Cluster with 47 active cases, Sivagangga PUI (patient under investigation) Cluster (25), Sala Cluster (eight) and Muda Cluster (three).

Dr Noor Hisham said a school in Kulim, Kedah, has been ordered to close after being affected with Covid-19 infection from the Tawar Cluster.

“We have closed down the school and we have screened and tested the students and sanitisation has been done in the location.

“We have taken all the positive action intervention in school. I hope that within a week or two, we can contain the infection in that area,” he said.

To a question on Covid-19 vaccine which saw Russia and China each registering a patent for the vaccine that they developed, Dr Noor Hisham said the MOH will examine the clinical data of the vaccine before deciding to use it in Malaysia.

“What’s important is that we need information about their research, namely the third clinical phase in which the vaccine is tested on humans. We have to look at the effectiveness of the vaccine and if there are side effects.

“Once the information is obtained, our experts will study the vaccine and if the effectiveness is high, we will definitely invest in it or use the vaccine,” he said.

Yesterday, international media reported that China’s first patent for a Covid-19 vaccine has been granted by China’ National Intellectual Property Administration.

Earlier on Aug 11, Russia announced that it had approved a Covid-19 vaccine named ‘Sputnik V’ and that full-scale production of the vaccine will begin next month. ― Bernama

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