ICUs at near full capacity with 641 patients, says Noor Hisham

(FMT) – The health ministry said there are 641 patients in intensive care units (ICU) across all government hospitals, even as the country braces itself for a surge in Covid-19 infections.

Health director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said this number includes 469 confirmed Covid-19 cases, 244 of whom require respiratory assistance.

With Noor Hisham reportedly saying yesterday that there are currently only 734 beds in ICU wards, this leaves only 93 beds available for any critical cases as the country enters the Hari Raya Aidilfitri festive season.

Noor Hisham said ICU admissions in the country have now recorded the highest number since the pandemic began.

“These cases aren’t mere statistics. The patients are parents, siblings or close friends to someone,” he said in a Facebook post.

Noor Hisham said with ICU wards being mostly filled with Covid-19 patients, hospitals have been ordered to repurpose other areas in their facilities, including regular wards, to be used as an ICU.

He said that even suspected or probable Covid-19 cases were treated at the ICU.

Noor Hisham went on to plead with the public to adhere to the SOPs during the Hari Raya festivities, including celebrating it moderately.

Yesterday, Noor Hisham said the ministry needed time to increase the capacity to take in Covid-19 cases in hospitals if the pandemic worsens.

Earlier today, Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin said he expects the number of daily Covid-19 cases to pass the 10,000 mark in the next few weeks if nothing is done to prevent the spread of the new variants.