Published on : Wednesday, February 12, 2020
It is time to prepare for the possibility of wider transmission of the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) as the World Health Organisation (WHO) has warned Malaysia and other countries.
Dr Takeshi Kasai,WHO regional western Pacific director said that the disease was at a ‘critical juncture’.
However, efforts were made to contain its spread and it was time that all the countries including Malaysia should prepare for the possibility of wider transmission.
There were reports of clusters of cases with no apparent link to China and as per the latest information the virus may be more transmissible than early data suggested.
This does not mean that the virus will start spreading easily within Malaysia or elsewhere tomorrow, or perhaps ever-of course, we hope that it won’t.
While other countries were working hard to contain the virus but they should be prepared in case it spreads more widely.
The wider transmission would require shifting the focus of efforts to protect the vulnerable and mininise health and social impacts.
There was a need to ensure health facilities could focus on treating the most vulnerable and severe cases in the example of the wider community transmission.
It might include planning to switch away from medically isolating or quarantining everyone who is infected to encourage people with mild illness to stay at home to recover.
Measures should be taken to ensure health facilities become places that amplify the virus’ spread, infecting staff and other patients.
Dr Kasai went on saying that they should be ready to make a switch away from testing all suspected cases and tracing the contacts of every person who has the virus.
There was a need to consider the possibility of closing schools or postponing mass gatherings if required to lessen the chances of virus spread.