MoH draws up Post-MCO mitigation plan; mulls COVID-19 community test

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PUTRAJAYA, April 21  – The MoH (Ministry of Health) is looking into a mitigation plan to ensure that the COVID-19 chain is broken after the Movement Control Order (MCO) is lifted.

Health director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said the mitigation plan also included a policy change that outlined the practice of the new normal.

“Definitely, we are looking into the exit strategy (after MCO is lifted). We are planning now and looking into how we can mitigate the situation.

“Our policy must change in terms of public gathering, social distancing and continuously remind our public to wash their hands. Most importantly, to stay at home if you do not have any business outside. That is the principle,” he told a daily press conference on COVID-19 yesterday.

Dr Noor Hisham said the soft landing approach would be used when removing the MCO and the discussion could take between three to six months.

In the meantime, Dr Noor Hisham admitted that the positive development in terms of decreasing numbers of daily cases was due to the early and careful planning.

“Today’s success is because our frontliners and careful planning. What we plan today, we will be able to see the results within two weeks,” he said.

Therefore, he advised the public to continue to cooperate with the frontliners as the World Health Organisation (WHO) had predicted that the world would be at “war” with COVID-19 even until next year.

“The war has yet to be won, but we have made significant improvement in terms of reducing the cases. Hopefully we can bring down the figure. We want to see a single digit,” he said.

MOH mulls COVID-19 test on community

In another news, the Health Ministry (MoH) is considering carrying out COVID-19 infection test in the community especially in red zones.

Health director-general, Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said the study involved screening local residents to gauge the antibody of individuals who had been infected by COVID-19.

“If they were exposed to the virus, then in a week they would produce antibody or IgG (Immunoglobulin G) with IgM (Immunoglobulin M).

“So the study could be considered and we may look at a suitable time to implement the test and the screening would be using the quick antibody test kit to measure antibody or lgG or lgM,” he said.

Dr Noor Hisham said with the test kit, only one drop of blood is needed to check for antibody.

However, he explained that the test is not for diagnosis but to know the number of people in the community who had been infected by COVID-19.

He said the study also required the close cooperation of the private sector to ensure the information gathered is the latest and all appropriate actions were taken.

Earlier, virologist Prof Dr Sazaly Abu Bakar had proposed that MOH gauge infection in the community by detecting the presence of antibody on the people randomly nationwide before the Movement Control Order (MCO) ends.

On the lack of N95 face masks at Kuching General Hospital, Dr Noor Hisham said the use of such face mask should be for health personnel at Intensive Care Unit (ICU) and COVID-19 treatment ward.

He said health clinic staff can use the three-layered face mask if they are not facing COVID-10 patients.

“Those who are not in COVID-19 ward can use the three-layered face mask while the use of N95 face mask is needed in ICU and COVID-19 wards, he said.