Proactive steps by Health Ministry helped curb Covid-19 spread in Sarawak, says Dr Noor Hisham

Health D-G Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah says the proactive steps taken by the Ministry of Health have succeeded in curbing the spread of Covid-19 in Sarawak. — Picture by Choo Choy May
Health D-G Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah says the proactive steps taken by the Ministry of Health have succeeded in curbing the spread of Covid-19 in Sarawak. — Picture by Choo Choy May

PUTRAJAYA, Aug 13 ― The proactive steps taken by the Ministry of Health (MOH) in carrying out public health activities have succeeded in curbing the spread of Covid-19 in Sarawak, said Health director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah.

He said this was evident from the fact that there has been no increase in positive cases for the 10 clusters in Sarawak for the past two weeks and the state had, in fact, been reclassified as a green zone.

“This shows that the MOH’s action in sending (Deputy director-general, Research and Technical Support) Dr Hishamshah Mohd Ibrahim and (head of disease control division) Dr Norhayati Rusli) to the field and its public health measures ensured success in curbing Covid-19 transmissions in Sarawak, especially in Kuching.

“The MOH has also increased the laboratories’ capability (to trace Covid-19) at the Sarawak General Hospital the MOH will continue to monitor in its effort to curb the spread of the pandemic in Malaysia,” he told a press conference on Covid-19 here today.

He said this when asked if there were any new positive cases related to the gathering outside the Kuala Lumpur High Court during the trial of former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak on July 28.

Dr Noor Hisham said no Covid-19 positive cases related to the gathering had been reported thus far.

Asked about the research on whether patients under investigation (PUI) in the Sivagangga cluster were linked to the D614G mutated strain of the virus, he said that studying the genomic sequence would take time and the result would only be known in a week’s time.

He said that for now the MOH only suspected the Sivagangga cluster in Kedah was caused by the D614G mutated strain of the virus because it spread very rapidly.

Dr Noor Hisham had earlier said that apart from public health care, border control also needed to be ramped up as the D614G strain of the virus had been reported in Europe and other countries.

On the discovery of Covid-19 vaccine by Russia, which became the first country to register the vaccine, he said the MOH only received news about it through media reports and that there had been no scientific proof regarding the vaccine.

He explained that the MOH could not recommend the use of the vaccine here as it was unsure whether the third phase of clinical research had been carried out.

“There are many questions and no answers…whether it is effective, the extent of its coverage or antibody, do we need a booster and its frequency.

“So, we have a lot of questions but we have not received a publication of the research. We have to wait and once we have read it, we can tell if the vaccine is effective or not,” he said.

He said what was important was the effectiveness of the vaccine and its side effects, which is why the third phase of clinical research must be carried out. ― Bernama

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