Coronavirus: Asia

Malaysia's Covid-19 assessment centres see surge in patient arrivals

Daily arrivals up from 4,000 to 10,000 at centres monitoring those undergoing home treatment

People waiting to receive Covid-19 vaccine shots at the Axiata Arena Vaccine Centre in Bukit Jalil yesterday. The Malaysian government is speeding up the pace of vaccination in order to reach herd immunity by year end. PHOTO: BERNAMA
People waiting to receive Covid-19 vaccine shots at the Axiata Arena Vaccine Centre in Bukit Jalil yesterday. The Malaysian government is speeding up the pace of vaccination in order to reach herd immunity by year end. PHOTO: BERNAMA

PETALING JAYA • Malaysia has reported a 150 per cent increase in patient arrivals at its Covid-19 assessment centres (CACs), even as the government speeds up its pace of vaccination in a bid to reach herd immunity by the year end.

The assessment centres were set up to monitor Covid-19 patients undergoing home treatment.

Health Director-General Noor Hisham Abdullah said that due to an overwhelming influx of patients, a new call centre will be set up to receive calls from those who are directed to report to the CACs.

"The number of patient arrivals surged from 4,000 daily to 10,000 a day on June 5.

"The number of active cases under CAC monitoring has also increased by 108 per cent from 5,300 a day to 11,000 a day," he said in a statement on Wednesday.

He added that there has been an increase in cases referred for hospitalisation, called step-up care, from nine to 35 for the May 23 to June 5 period.

Tan Sri Noor Hisham said that with the strain on staff at CACs in such a short period of time, the phone lines are frequently congested.

"The Health Ministry will set up a call centre to help receive calls from symptomatic patients to be channelled to a suitable CAC, field general inquiries concerning home quarantine, and channel emergency calls, he said.

Malaysia's most populous state Selangor has been Malaysia's worst affected state, with the most coronavirus cases.

Selangor yesterday had the most cases with 1,510 infections, followed by 769 in the federal territory of Kuala Lumpur and 631 in Sarawak state.

A total 5,671 infections were reported yesterday, bringing the cumulative caseload to 639,562.

There are 198 CACs in the country, each having a team comprising a family medicine specialist, public health specialist, medical officer, assistant medical officer, nurses, and an assistant environmental health officer.

Dr Noor Hisham said the CACs were set up to assess individuals who are confirmed to be Covid-19 positive and to determine whether they are suitable to undergo quarantine at home, or have to be admitted to either quarantine and low-risk treatment centres (PKRC), or hospitals.

"This initiative was able to reduce congestion in hospitals when the country was faced with a steep increase in Covid-19 cases.

"Category 1 (asymptomatic) and 2 (mild symptoms) patients were monitored by CACs, while hospitals focused on treating patients in Category 3 and above," he said.

Meanwhile, the government has been speeding up the pace of its vaccination campaign.

For the second day in a row on Wednesday, it administered over 150,000 doses of the Covid-19 vaccine in a bid to reach herd immunity by year end.

According to the latest data from the Covid-19 Vaccine Supply Access Guarantee (JKJAV), Malaysia has so far dispensed more than 3.9 million doses of the Covid-19 vaccine as at Wednesday.

Close to 4 per cent of Malaysia's 32 million population - a total of 1,220,939 of them - are fully vaccinated.

National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme coordinating minister Khairy Jamaluddin said on Wednesday that the government will continue to ramp up vaccination capacity in the Klang Valley that comprises Kuala Lumpur, Putrajaya and most districts in Selangor.

"The key now is to ensure we hit this consistently as we move towards 200,000 (doses) per day," said the JKJAV co-chair on Twitter.

THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 11, 2021, with the headline 'Malaysia's Covid-19 assessment centres see surge in patient arrivals'. Subscribe