Schools close, hospitals turn patients away as flu outbreak gets worse in Malaysia

The Education Ministry has advised parents not to let their sick children go to school but to seek professional medical attention.
The Education Ministry has advised parents not to let their sick children go to school but to seek professional medical attention.PHOTO: AFP

KUALA LUMPUR - The growing number of cases of influenza A has seen several schools in Penang and the Klang Valley closing, with stocks of flu shots running low.

At least 53 people have been infected in Penang and 23 in Selangor as of Friday (Jan 10) morning, and some hospitals have turned away patients, with the authorities advising bed rest at home.

Of the cases in Selangor, reported in Cyberjaya and Klang, only two were hospitalised.

"They need good rest. They will recover. If we admit everyone at public hospitals, others may be infected, too," Deputy Health Minister Lee Boon Chye was reported as saying by news portal Free Malaysia Today (FMT).

However, he said there is enough influenza medicine in public healthcare centres, while some private hospitals need to replenish their stocks after a surge in flu cases following an outbreak in China last month.

The Education Ministry has also advised parents not to let their sick children go to school but to seek professional medical attention.

FMT also reported that several private hospitals in the Klang Valley had run out of beds after seeing a surge in influenza cases, and were focusing on outpatient treatment, except in cases when symptoms become more severe.

Penang's education department has said it will take proactive measures to control the spread of cases there, including the distribution of face masks in schools.

 

Malaysia's director-general of health Noor Hisham Abdullah said last week that tests showed the influenza viruses were not mutations or new strains, and that the number of cases was still in the "normal range".