PUTRAJAYA: Malaysia reported 45 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday (May 6), taking the cumulative total to 6,428 infections.
The health ministry also reported one death, a 51-year-old Malaysian man, raising the total number of fatalities from the outbreak to 107.
The man had a history of diabetes, hypertension and kidney disease. He was admitted to hospital on Apr 22 and died on May 5.
Of the new cases, one was imported, said health director-general Noor Hisham Abdullah at a media briefing.
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A total of 135 more COVID-19 patients have fully recovered, bringing the total number of recoveries to 4,702. This represents 73.1 per cent of the total number of cases so far.
As of 12pm on Wednesday 1,619 active cases are being treated in isolation, said Dr Noor Hisham.
Twenty two cases are being treated in the intensive care unit, of which nine require respiratory assistance.
DETECTING COVID-19 AMONG FOREIGN WORKERS
The Ministry of Health (MOH) will intensify efforts to detect COVID-19 infections among foreign workers, especially those in the red zone in Selangor and Kuala Lumpur, said Dr Noor Hisham.
The ministry has screened 22,339 foreign workers, and 986 of them have tested positive for COVID-19.
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Of the foreign workers undergoing treatment at government hospitals, 457 of them are in intensive care units, with 525 recoveries and four deaths recorded.
“Now (the MOH) has identified foreign workers as a target group (for detection efforts), so we will conduct tests especially on those in the red zone,” said Dr Noor Hisham.
“There has been no report of foreign workers being infected in the green zone. We will carry out (the detection efforts) in the near future.”
Dr Noor Hishan added that cramped living quarters was one factor which contributed to the outbreak among foreign workers.
“The main problem is that they live in cramped conditions in houses or apartments, and they don’t just work in one sector. Some work in wholesale markets and some at construction sites. So, the issue is they all live together in cramped conditions and we need to carry out screenings,” he said.
Authorities have also lodged a police report against several foreign workers who fled from a quarantine centre in Kuala Lumpur. Police are already tracking them down, said Dr Noor Hisham.
“What is certain is that they were quarantined despite not testing positive because they were exposed to others who were COVID-19 positive,” he added.
OUTBREAK IN LOCAL COMMUNITY “UNDER CONTROL”
Dr Noor Hisham said the COVID-19 outbreak in the local community is under control, crediting it to the health ministry’s targeted approach strategy.
“We used this strategy on groups like the Seri Petaling, tahfiz and now foreign workers. These are the three targeted groups and we have identified their localities and will take action.
“Today, we had 45 cases, still two digits and under control. If we look at the third phase of the Movement Control Order (MCO), we had already achieved two digits, we hope that in the next one week the numbers will decrease,” he said
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Malaysia expects the daily number of new COVID-19 cases to remain at two digits or fall to a single digit by as early as May 12.
Citing the success of South Korea and Taiwan in tackling the pandemic, Dr Noor Hisham said Malaysians should follow their example in obeying measures put in place to curb the spread of the coronavirus.
People in South Korea and Taiwan “adopted a high level of discipline and complied with the SOP… and they were successful and they also implemented measures such as Conditional MCO”, he said.
“We hope Malaysians can do the same … so we can be successful (in tackling the pandemic).”
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