Malaysia's ICU usage rises to 84% as Covid-19 cases stay high

Occupancy rates for non-ICU beds assigned for the coronavirus stood at 77 per cent nationwide.
Occupancy rates for non-ICU beds assigned for the coronavirus stood at 77 per cent nationwide.PHOTO: REUTERS

PUTRAJAYA (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Usage of intensive care units for Covid-19 cases at Malaysia's hospitals rose on Tuesday (Sept 7) to 84 per cent, health director-general Noor Hisham Abdullah said on Wednesday.

The nationwide usage rate was at 68 per cent the previous day.

According to data tweeted by the health chief on Wednesday, hospitals in seven of Malaysia's 13 states reported that more than 90 per cent of their ICU beds were being utilised for Covid-19 patients.

The northern state of Kedah was operating at overcapacity, recording 122 per cent usage of its 104 ICU beds.

Other states such as Selangor, Perak, Kelantan, Penang, Johor and Perlis reported usage rates of between 91 per cent and 96 per cent.

Meanwhile, occupancy rates for non-ICU beds assigned for the coronavirus stood at 77 per cent nationwide as at Tuesday, a slight increase from the previous day's rate of 72 per cent.

With nearly 70 per cent of Malaysia's adult population having received both shots of a Covid-19 vaccine, the health authorities are focusing on hospital capacity as an indicator of their success at containing the pandemic, even as daily Covid-19 cases remain stubbornly high.

Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham said 19,733 new cases were recorded on Wednesday, bringing the total number of infections since the pandemic began past the 1.9 million mark.

Sarawak made up the largest portion of cases at 3,100, while Selangor, Penang and Sabah reported over 2,000 cases each.

The health ministry said nearly 98  per cent of the new cases displayed mild or asymptomatic infections.

Another 361 fatalities from Covid-19 were reported on Wednesday, taking the death toll to 19,163.

Meanwhile the special committee for handling the pandemic announced on Wednesday that movement controls would be eased in the Klang Valley, comprising the capital Kuala Lumpur and Selangor state, as it transitions to phase 2 of the national recovery plan from Friday. 

Spouses and parents with children under 18 years old will be allowed to cross state lines to visit each other provided they are fully vaccinated. Those who are vaccinated can also take part in local tourism activities within the state they reside in.

Klang Valley residents can also travel freely across districts, and there will no longer be roadblocks.

The committee also announced that indoor sporting facilities, except gyms, can reopen for patrons who are fully-vaccinated, even in states under the strictest phase 1 controls.