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Dr Mahathir suggested the Health Ministry set up temporary hospitals specifically to treat Category 3 patients. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon
Dr Mahathir suggested the Health Ministry set up temporary hospitals specifically to treat Category 3 patients. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon

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KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 1 — Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad today urged the Health Ministry to review its current practice and start hospitalising Covid-19 patients as soon as they display signs of lung infections instead of waiting for their symptoms to worsen.

The Langkawi MP and two-time former prime minister said patients marked as Category 3 should be admitted into hospitals sooner rather than later.

“The current practice of only hospitalising those who already require oxygen, namely in Category 4 and 5, is not good practice. Those quarantined at home have no access to oxygen or nurses. Patients in Category 3 already show signs of a lung infection, and when it gets worse, they cannot get treatment at home.

“Families at home cannot help because they cannot get close to the patient. Doctors cannot be called. The patient gets worse. There is no oxygen at home. Finally, the patient dies,” he said in a blogpost.

The 96-year-old suggested the Health Ministry set up temporary hospitals specifically to treat Category 3 patients.

He suggested the military undertake this task, noting that they had the capability and past experience in setting up field hospitals.

Alternatively, he said the government could repurpose halls in hotels or other establishments to treat Covid-19 Category 3 patients.

“I believe those in Category 3 can be saved. There are not so many of them. Temporary hospitals can be built. These temporary hospitals will be supplied with oxygen and administered by several doctors and nurses.

“Over a thousand patients in this category can be quarantined there. The military can build these hospitals. Halls in hotels and other buildings can be converted, filled up with beds, oxygen, doctors and nurses,” he said.

He also suggested having a team of doctors and nurses physically visit Covid-19 cases in the first two categories who show zero or mild symptoms of illness and are under home quarantine.

“This way, if a patient gets worse, oxygen can be supplied. And in serious cases, they can be transferred to the temporary hospitals housing those in Category 3.

“I hope my proposal is accepted by MoH. I firmly believe the number of new cases and deaths can be reduced this way,” he added.

Malaysia’s active Covid-19 cases stood at 267,863 nationwide as of yesterday.

The Health Ministry registered 98 per cent or 20,483 cases as Category 1 and 2 while patients in Category 3 (with pneumonia), Category 4 (with pneumonia and in need of oxygen assistance) and Category 5 (in critical condition and needing breathing assistance) totalled 422 new cases as of yesterday.

However, the country’s Covid-19 death toll has been rising and as yesterday, stood at 16,664.

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