Bad idea to treat mild Covid-19 patients at home, says ex-deputy minister

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PETALING JAYA: A former deputy health minister has criticised the government’s decision to treat asymptomatic and mild Covid-19 patients at home, questioning whether the health ministry has the resources to do so.

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Speaking to FMT, PKR’s Dr Lee Boon Chye said it was a bad idea to treat and quarantine these patients at home as it was unlikely that there was enough manpower to monitor these patients.

Lee said resorting to this measure would mean a much higher chance for family members or others in a patient’s household to also contract the virus.

“The health workers can’t catch up with contact tracing with the existing manpower. How do we expect them to be able to handle this additional task of monitoring infected patients at home?” he asked.

He said he would support the decision if it was to treat asymptomatic and mild cases involving migrant workers in special accommodation such as their dormitories or hostels as they were mostly young and healthy.

“They can be isolated with minimal monitoring. They are otherwise young and healthy, having yearly Foreign Workers Medical Examination Monitoring Agency examinations for work permits, and the complications rate from Covid-19 is remote.”

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Health Minister Dr Adham Baba yesterday said Level 1 and 2 Covid-19 patients will undergo treatment and quarantine at home while being monitored by health workers.

He said a task force has been formed at the Crisis Preparedness and Emergency Response Centre and state and district levels to monitor these patients.

This came after health director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah revealed that Covid-19 hospitals and low-risk treatment centres have nearly reached full capacity following the four-digit surge in daily cases since December.

Lee also asked the health ministry to clarify the Covid-19 category of the three Cabinet ministers who had been infected with the virus, questioning if they really needed to be admitted to hospital.

“Are they asymptomatic, mild, severe or critical, that it would warrant their admission to hospital?” he asked.

The three ministers who have tested positive for Covid-19 are Home Minister Hamzah Zainudin, Women, Family and Community Development Minister Rina Harun and Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Economy Affairs) Mustapa Mohamed.-FMT

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