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As Covid-19 spikes, Health DG gives 'sermon' stressing SOP compliance

Health Ministry director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah may have repeated the ministry's advice to the public on how to prevent Covid-19 infection at each and every press conference he has held during the pandemic.

However, as a number of positive cases continue to shoot up, the country's top public health official today wanted to drive home the point more than usual.

At his press conference this evening, Noor Hisham repeated several times his advice for everyone to always wash their hands, to wear face masks in public places and avoid going out unnecessarily.

"Public health measures can also be carried out by each and every individual, by practising the three Ws and avoiding the three Cs," he said, referring to the advice to always wash hands, wear a face mask and remember warnings by the authorities as well as to avoid confined spaces, crowded places and close quarters conversations.

"This virus cannot spread if there is physical distancing and without new humans (to spread to). If we distance among ourselves for one to two metres, we can break the chain of infection.

"This is the method that we had been using since March until today which is to break the chain of infection. That is how we can do it and it has been proven.

"We did not do it through vaccination. We don't even have a vaccine yet. What we have now is this, physical distancing. If we practice this, God willing, we can do it," Noor Hisham told the press conference.

The "sermon" came as an extended answer to a media question on whether Putrajaya might become an epicentre for the pandemic.

Noor Hisham had earlier given the same advice when delivering the ministry's daily update before repeating it again when answering a question.

"I want to advise Malaysians, especially the people in Sabah, to practice public health by doing physical distancing, wearing a face mask and washing your hands," he said.

"This is even better than a vaccine. And avoid any gathering [...] the safest place is your own house."

Noor Hisham stress on the issue came as the country continued to record over 250 Covid-19 cases daily for three days in a row.

As of noon today, the number of new cases reached 317 to become a new record. It broke yesterday's figure of 287 positive cases. Thursday saw 260 new cases.

The major contributors to the figures continue to be Kedah and Sabah. Today, the number of cases in Sabah and Kedah were 155 and 102 respectively.

According to Noor Hisham's explanation, the authorities were more concerned about the outbreak in Sabah.

He said that 97 of the total cases recorded in Kedah today were from the Tembok cluster which was confined to a prison facility in the state.

"The outbreak in Kedah is under control, (most of the cases) were in a prison. We have carried out screening of all inmates and prison wardens, and hopefully, we will be able to control it," he said.

He added the source of infection for the Tembok cluster was a prison officer who had escorted some of the prisoners and the prisoners, in turn, infected other inmates upon their return to the facility.

For Sabah, Noor Hisham said they have enhanced public health and screening activities in the state and are hoping to put the outbreak under control within a week.

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