Health DG: ‘We don’t want to be forced to decide who lives and who dies’

PUTRAJAYA, 8 May 2021:

Stressing again the surge in Covid-19 cases is already putting a strain on existing medical facilities – both government-run and privately-owned – Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah urged Malaysians to take extra precautions to prevent the virus infection from getting beyond control.

“We have already seen infections becoming like a tsunami in many countries recently. If this happens here in Malaysia, our healthcare system will get overwhelmed,” he said during the daily Covid-19 media conference here.

Noting the tragedy unfolding in India, which is seeing daily records in the number of new Covid-19 infections and deaths, he warned this can easily happen here if Malaysians continue to ignore basic health safety practices.

“If our hospitals are full and we don’t have enough respirators, what happens then? We don’t want to be forced to decide who lives and who dies.”

Despite this horrific warning, Dr Noor Hisham assured healthcare facilities in Malaysia remains adequate for now and more facilities from the Armed Forces and the private sector are being roped in as part of the collective nationwide effort, made possible by Emergency ordinances.

But he said the best was to avoid this nightmare scenario is for everyone to simply follow basic standard operating procedures (SOPs) by wearing face masks, keeping social distances, avoiding crowds and frequent sanitising, among others.

“If you can, work from home and stay at home if you don’t need to go out. Keep your family and loved ones safe by avoiding physical contact with others as much as possible as many of the current infections in the community are sporadic.”

Dr Noor Hisham also appealed for everyone to comply with stricter restrictions being imposed with the Movement Control Order (MCO) and ban on interstate and inter-district travels.

Noting grouses over such restrictions on economic activity and job loss potentials, he said a balance can be achieved as long as the public comply strictly with SOPs.

“I know we’re all tired after coping with 16 months of Covid-19 restrictions already. But give us another two weeks, maybe two more and hopefully the number of infections reported daily will be reduced. This will relieve some of the pressure at hospitals and on frontliners so we can tackle this pandemic better.”