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Most COVID-19-related deaths in Malaysia due to late treatment: Health director

Most COVID-19-related deaths in Malaysia due to late treatment: Health director

Customers, wearing protective masks, line up to pay at a supermarket, following the outbreak of coronavirus, in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia March 15, 2020. REUTERS/Lim Huey Teng

PUTRAJAYA: Most of the COVID-19-related deaths in Malaysia were due to late treatment, health director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said on Tuesday (Mar 24).

There are five stages of the infection but most of the patients who died came to hospital when they were already at stage three, he said.

“Stage one is where a person is asymptomatic but positive, while stage two is positive with mild symptoms and stage three is when a patient has some form of pneumonia but does not require oxygen aid.

"In stage four, a patient will require oxygen therapy and the last stage (stage five) is when patients cannot breathe well and we need to incubate them and put them on ventilator,” he told reporters at a media briefing.

Dr Noor Hisham also explained that in most stage four patients, their health would deteriorate fast, advancing to stage five.

"For example, the latest death, the patient already had breathing difficulty for the last three days,” he said.

READ: Missing the little things: What life is like under Malaysia’s movement control order

READ: Malaysia reports another COVID-19 fatality linked to religious gathering; death toll rises to 15

He also said that besides late treatment, age and underlying health conditions were also among factors that contributed to the COVID-19-related death.

Some of the death cases had several pre-existing conditions and most of them were above 70 years old, he said.

Meanwhile, Dr Noor Hisham said that the health ministry would enhance its case detection abilities.

“It means we will find the case, we test the case, and if it is confirmed, we isolate the case and give treatment.

"We will continue to do our best to look into the focus group. For example, now we know that 60 per cent of the infection are among the tabligh group. We will go and find them and test them,” he said, adding it was to ensure the individuals from the group would not infect others.

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