'I'm having sleepless nights due to the stress of facing the pandemic'

Geraldine Tong

Modified 10 Nov 2020, 4:18 am

COVID-19 | Health Ministry director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said he is having sleepless nights due to the stress of facing the Covid-19 pandemic.

“If you look at the issue of mental and physical fatigue, not only on the field but even in the Health Ministry itself, we are mentally and physically fatigued.

“This is because we have been fighting continuously without stopping for 10 months, without a break.

“There may be those who are affected by the intense pressure and so on. Even the director-general is also facing a lot of pressure.

“Sometimes at night, we cannot sleep because we have to think about all sorts of things and how to solve problems. But so far, we can still hold on,” Noor Hisham said during his daily press conference at the Health Ministry in Putrajaya today.

He was responding to a question about fatigue plaguing healthcare officers, especially in Sabah where Covid-19 cases have been spiking.

He said he had a video conference with several specialists in Sabah this morning about how to handle any problems they are facing.

“I can say they are still high-spirited, but maybe in the way we work, we have to be smarter at taking turns and giving time to our officers to rest.

“But even when we are given rest, sometimes we cannot rest. We might wake up in the middle of the night at 3am or 4am, still thinking about how to solve a problem.

“This is a challenge for all of us, whether frontliners or management,” Noor Hisham said.

He reiterated that the fight against Covid-19 could not be won by just the Health Ministry or the government alone, but it required the efforts of everyone in the country.

He noted that the infectivity rate or R0 (pronounced R-nought) had gone down to 1.1 nationwide, from 2.2 when the third wave first started. Yesterday, he had said the R0 value was at 1.2 nationwide.

As long as everyone continued to comply with the SOPs, it would likely take another two weeks or so before the curve could be flattened, he reminded.

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