The Ministry of Health (MOH) is now allowing asymptomatic COVID-19 patients, or those with mild symptoms, to undergo treatment and quarantine at home
According to Bernama, Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Adham Baba announced that Stage 1 and Stage 2 COVID-19 cases will now be allowed to quarantine at home, but under strict monitoring by healthcare workers.
The decision comes soon after Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said the ministry was considering the option as the country's healthcare system has not been able to cope with the surge in daily cases.
For clarification, the clinical management guidelines by the MOH states that Stage 1 patients are those who test positive but do not show any symptoms, and Stage 2 patients are those with mild upper respiratory tract infections.
These COVID-19 patients are usually sent to the hospitals only for isolation, close monitoring, and general care, compared to the more specific treatment of severe cases that do require a hospital stay.
Dr Adham said the Stage 1 and Stage 2 patients at home will have to complete the same mandatory 10-day quarantine, and a test will be conducted on them on the last day
During the quarantine, he said a task force, formed by healthcare workers from the Crisis Preparedness and Emergency Response Centre (CPRC) as well as from the state and district levels, will continue to monitor and treat these patients at their respective homes.
"We are doing this as we need to act fast in treating and isolating positive cases, and to this end, the MOH will continue with contact tracing in efforts to flatten the COVID-19 curve," he told reporters after the ministry's New Year mandate ceremony on Tuesday, 12 January.
However, to qualify for quarantine at home, the Health Minister said his ministry's staff will have to first assess the size of the house and its number of occupants
Dr Adham said if a patient's house was not conducive, the patient will still be taken to a hospital or quarantine centre for isolation.
"If the facilities at home are satisfactory, with sufficient space for isolation and the family understands the need for quarantine and the standard operating procedures (SOP) set by the MOH, they will be treated at home," he said.
He added that Dr Noor Hisham will provide more details on the home quarantine matter soon.
Dr Noor Hisham has warned that the "worst is yet to come" with regards to the COVID-19 situation in Malaysia:
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