COVID-19: Frontliners can take turns to rest, says Malaysian health ministry as cases hit new low since MCO

PUTRAJAYA: As Malaysia sees a decrease in daily new COVID-19 infections, healthcare workers who have been working round the clock for five months can now take turns to rest, the Ministry of Health said on Tuesday (May 5). 

The ministry’s director-general Noor Hisham Abdullah said the healthcare workers who have been on-duty treating patients will be given a break in the next one to two weeks. 

“The healthcare frontliners have been working daily for five months now. No breaks. Now that cases are reducing, the ICU and even the COVID-19 wards are being used a lot less. 

“So in the next one or two weeks, they will take turns to have some time off,” he said.

Malaysia reported 30 new COVID-19 cases on Tuesday, a record low since the implementation of the movement control order (MCO). The tally stands at 6,383 cases, with 106 deaths.

READ: Malaysian states may face legal action if they stop businesses from reopening: Azmin Ali

While healthcare workers can take a breather now, Dr Noor Hisham said they will also be given counselling to brace for the worst in case there is a surge in cases. 

“We are definitely preparing for the worst. Of course, we are hoping for the best but preparing for the worst,” he said. 

READ: Daughter of Malaysia’s former DPM Zahid fined RM800 for flouting movement control order

Additionally, Dr Noor Hisham said the ministry will take this period to re-strategise the distribution of manpower and equipment. 

He stressed that healthcare workers were the “final defence” again the COVID-19 virus. “We are the defence against the deaths and the spread of the virus,” he said. 

Health workers collect samples for COVID-19 in Malaysia

Health workers collect samples for COVID-19 testing in Gombak on the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur on Apr 22, 2020. (Photo: AFP/Mohd Rasfan)

Following news reports that the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) was investigating a company over a RM30 million (US$6.9 million) contract to supply mass testing laboratory systems to a ministry, Dr Noor Hisham said the ministry will cooperate with whatever investigations necessary. 

“This is a MACC case. We refer the reports back to them. We will always work with them if necessary,” he said when asked to comment on the matter. 

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