MoH discussing with Ministry of Defence setting up of field hospitals, says Adham

PUTRAJAYA (May 3): The Ministry of Health (MoH) is in talks with the Ministry of Defence on the setting up of field hospitals in Kelantan and Sarawak, said Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Adham Baba.

He said there is a need to set up field hospitals to accommodate non-Covid-19 related cases, so that the burden of the hospitals dealing with Covid-19 patients could be reduced.

“Until now, we find there is a need to set up field hospitals, like in Tawau and Kelantan ... discussions are in progress, so that the Ministry of Defence can build them.

"The existing hospitals, especially their critical and intensive care unit (ICU) wards, can be used or focused on dealing with the increase in Covid-19 cases," he told a press conference held jointly with Coordinating Minister of the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme Khairy Jamaluddin here today.

On the mobilisation of additional personnel to deal with the pandemic, Adham said some 8,000 personnel from other ministries had been mobilised since last Jan 11 to assist the MoH.

He said the latest involved a total of 800 personnel deployed to Sarawak and Kelantan.

“In Kelantan, staff from the dental department are deployed, apart from trainees and staff from the MoH Training Institute, who are also experts in managing Covid-19 cases in critical wards and ICUs.

"Apart from that, the MoH has obtained approval to have 11,000 more staff in all disciplines of the ministry,” he added.

On the first case of the Covid-19 variant originating from India, with a double mutation known as B.1.617.1, Adham said the case was detected following the screening of an Indian national at an international gateway on April 24.

 "The Indian national came to our country before we decided to close the entry of flights from that country (India) ... as for the Indian national, he is being quarantined for 14 days and we are monitoring the situation,” he added.

He said to date, a total of 48 cases of South African variant B.1.351 are in the country, followed by UK B.1.1.7 (eight cases) and Nigerian B.1.525 (two cases).

Interstate travel not allowed until May 17

Meanwhile, he said interstate travel is not allowed until May 17, and that 13 interstate clusters had been detected since last April.

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