PUTRAJAYA, April 17 — Several indicators need to be looked at before the Movement Control Order (MCO) can end, Health director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said.
He said among the indicators needed to be identified to end the MCO is a reduction of (COVID-19) cases still being treated.
“To end the MCO, we must have an exit strategy, and among our indicators is the reduction in cases being treated or infectivity cases. Currently, we have 2,198 cases (infectivity cases) and if cases reduce, that would mean we would have a reduction in communal infection. Person to person (infection) is a factor.
“Secondly, we must use surveillance. Surveillance that we carried out from January on influenza-like illness (ILI) and severe acute respiratory infections (SARIs) in the community,” he said in the daily COVID-19 media conference here today.
What is clear, he added, is that from the Ministry of Health’s (MOH) observation, SARI cases have been reducing.
“So, that is another indicator to be used when advising the National Security Council (MKN) to end the MCO.
“We also have to look at certain areas, their density and whether they have been hit by infections and the existence of new clusters in certain locations,” he said.
Meanwhile, Dr Noor Hisham said the capacity for fast and accurate clinical testing as well as the MOH’s ability to accommodate patients are among the issues the ministry needs to deal with for the MCO to end.
On early signs indicating that MOH has been successful in flattening the pandemic curve, Dr Noor Hisham acknowledged the fact that infectivity cases have been reducing.
“We still have about 2,000 more positive cases. If we carry out containment measures as how it was done in the first and second phase of the MCO, then we can reduce the tally.
“There was a time we had 4,000 cases and now there are 2,198 infectivity cases, so even if we had 69 new cases today, what is important is that we further reduce the number of infectivity cases.
Once that happens, he said, there will be better control and it will be easier for the MOH to focus on high-risk areas.