Health DG says most COVID-19 patients will recover

KUALA LUMPUR (March 26): Ministry of Health's director-general (DG) Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah is confident that most COVID-19 infected patients in the country will recover, given the mortality rate of the disease in Malaysia is considered low at 1.1%, compared to the world's average of 4.5%.

This comes as Malaysia just reported four new fatalities from the illness since yesterday noon, which has pushed the death toll to 23, out of a total of 2,031 positive cases so far.

"So 95% or more than 98% (of the patients) can recover, but it might take some time before we discharge them from the hospital and return to society. What is important is that before we discharge them, they must test negative (for the infection) for 24 hours. So this might take a while, maybe 10 days, 12 days, or even two weeks for some cases," Noor Hisham told a press conference on the latest update of the COVID-19 outbreak in Malaysia today.

"However, we will still provide our services and care for them until they are tested negative twice," he added.

Noor Hisham further explained that there are three factors that may put COVID-19 patients at a higher fatality risk — old age especially older than 70 years, possessing other diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, or heart diseases, as well as late coming to the hospital for treatment.

On the last factor, Noor Hisham said if the patients were already at the fourth or fifth stage of the infection, they may suffer from shortness of breath and require respiratory aid. This, he said, puts them at a higher fatality risk.

"At the same time, patients with higher immunity level may recover more quickly compared to those with lower level of immunity. So our strategy is to protect the ones who are older because they would typically have lower immunity levels.

"So this group should be protected by ensuring that they stay home, and not leave the house. What we hope for is that we can break the infection chain from individuals to individuals. This is important, the important message is that we stay at home," he added.

Of the four new fatalities, three were over 60 years old while one was aged 48.

Stay calm. Stay at home. Keep updated on the latest news at #stayathome #flattenthecurve

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