MoH identifies 3,000 contract staff to help combat COVID-19, says D-G

PUTRAJAYA (March 25): The Ministry of Health has identified some 3,000 contract nurses and medical officers to help it deal with the COVID-19 outbreak in the country.

Health director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said the ministry had the names of those to be called to serve.

“… we are in the process of hiring and they will be placed in the areas according to their expertise," he told a daily media conference on the development of COVID-19 here yesterday.

On Monday, Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin announced that the government had agreed to set aside an additional allocation of RM600 million to the MOH to combat COVID-19.

Of the total, RM500 million is to purchase medical equipment, such as ventilators, essential intensive care unit (ICU) equipment, extra personal protection equipment (PPE) for general medical staff and laboratory equipment for screening of COVID-19.

The remaining RM100 million is for the MOH to appoint 2,000 new staff on a contract basis, especially nurses.

Meanwhile, he said the ministry was planning to convert training centres or hostels into temporary wards to treat affected patients.

The move would provide an additional of 3,000 beds for COVID-19 cases, he said.

Noor Hisham added that the ministry would also mobilise health personnel from other states to hospitals designated for COVID-19 cases.

"We can't build a hospital in 10 days, (thus) by doing so, we hope we can provide the best treatment to COVID-19 patients,” he said.

In a related development, Noor Hisham said all health personnel infected with the disease did not contract the virus while working in isolation wards.

Instead, they got infected from the crowds and patients who came to health facilities and did not disclose their history, he said.

"None of the medical personnel infected working in COVID-19 ward, the isolation ward is the safest place. 

“We take all the precautions and they are protected from the virus," he added. 

To date, a total of 19 MOH personnel and five from private health facilities have been infected with COVID-19.

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