PETALING JAYA: It is almost impossible for Malaysia to achieve zero infection in Covid-19 cases by next month, a respiratory physician said yesterday.
Dr Helmy Haja Mydin of Pantai Hospital Kuala Lumpur said the push for zero new cases is tough as the country is not isolated.
“We are not an island like New Zealand. Rather than aiming for zero infection, it would be better to identify positive cases quickly in order to intervene early,“ he said.
“We can keep things to a minimum but there are many factors that will prevent us from reaching zero for now.”
He was commenting on the Health Ministry’s projections of zero new positive cases by mid-July.
Helmy said the public plays a huge role in reducing infection rates. He stressed the need to practise social distancing, wear masks and seek treatment early if symptoms appear. The government must continue to test aggressively and widely, and continue to be transparent in sharing data, he added. This will allow targeted measures to be imposed where and when necessary.
“The issue of foreigners without legal permits is due to border controls and enforcement,” he added.
The Malaysian Medical Association said the onus is on the public to prevent infections as the virus needs a host, which is the human body.
“Public compliance is between 90% and 95%. It is this strict discipline in observing safety measures that has contributed to the lower infection rate and the drop in the number of cases we are seeing today,“ its president Dr N. Ganabaskaran said.
He advised the people to take care of their health to boost their immune system.
“Simple steps such as a healthy diet, exercising regularly and getting good quality rest will boost our immune system,” he said.
“Natural Vitamin D from the sun is also important for a strong immune system. Many people are deficient of this important vitamin.
“Scheduled medical check-ups are also very important to check on one’s health status and to identify if there are any health issues for early intervention.”
Ganabaskaran said illegal immigrants could be a significant risk if infected as some may fear the authorities and run away to other locations, making contact tracing difficult.