Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Malaysian Covid patients arriving dead to hospitals

Malaysian Covid patients arriving dead to hospitals

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Volunteers wearing protective suits carrying the coffin of a Covid-19 victim for burial at a cemetery in Kuala Lumpur, on Tuesday. AFP

Malaysian Covid patients arriving dead to hospitals

A growing number of Covid-19 patients are dying before they can make it to a hospital in Malaysia and experts are concerned about the trend.

They say this may be due to newer and more virulent variants of the coronavirus, such as the Delta variant first identified in India, emerging in the country.

The condition of patients may have deteriorated faster because of the new variants, the government’s Covid-19 Epidemiological Analysis and Strategies Task Force chairman Awang Bulgiba Awang Mahmud told The Straits Times.

Data from the Ministry of Health showed that 370 victims were classified as brought in dead (BID) at hospitals as at June 14. More than half of that number or 195 cases were registered in the four weeks between May 14 and June 14.

Only 136 cases were reported as BID for the whole of last year.

The number of Covid-19 deaths overall has also spiked, from just 471 last year to more than 3,000 so far this year.

Awang Bulgiba said: “Since those patients were not admitted to the hospital, they may have deteriorated rapidly. We do not have post-mortem reports on them, so it is difficult to know what they died of and Malaysia’s genomic or epidemiological surveillance is low, so we do not have a clear picture of the virulence of the current variants.”

Infected persons may have brushed off their symptoms as just the common cold or a minor cough, not thinking that they had been infected with Covid-19.

Thus they were not tested and when they deteriorated rapidly, they were brought in dead, he added.

Furthermore, for some remote areas such as the interior of Sabah and Sarawak, medical facilities may be far away and not readily accessible.

Variants may have different signs and symptoms of infection, and patients may not recognise them as being due to a Covid-19 infection, he noted. Although those infected may not feel ill, they can be contagious and put others at risk.

The vaccination roll-out needs to be accelerated in order to protect more people quickly.

Awang Bulgiba said: “To prevent severe Covid-19 from developing, the government really needs to ramp up its vaccination efforts further. I suggest that we ramp this up to say 300,000 to 500,000 doses per day. This will reduce spread by asymptomatic and unlinked or sporadic cases, which is worryingly high at the moment.”

Malaysia is struggling to flatten the curve of infections with a third nationwide lockdown that ends on June 28.

The number of new cases announced on June 18 was 6,440.

Some 200,000 vaccinations are being given out each day as the country races to immunise as many as it can.

Virologist Dr Chee Hui Yee at Universiti Putra Malaysia’s Medicine and Health Sciences Faculty said: “Any DOA [dead on arrival] case is worrying.”

The deaths could have occurred due to a lack of self-regulation or even a lack of awareness of infection, she was quoted as saying by the Malaysian Insight news website.

Dr Chee said Covid-19 patients should use oximeters to measure their oxygen levels while in quarantine at home.

People should also get tested for Covid-19 immediately if they have symptoms, regardless of whether they have been in close contact with a positive case or not.



  • PM imposes nationwide Covid restrictions, curfew over Delta scare

    Prime Minister Hun Sen late on July 28 instructed the municipal and provincial authorities nationwide to strictly enforce Covid-19 measures including curfew for two weeks from July 29 midnight through August 12 to stem the new coronavirus Delta variant. The instruction came shortly after he issued a directive

  • Two luxury hotels latest quarantine options for inbound travellers

    The Inter-Ministerial Committee to Combat Covid-19 has designated two luxury hotels as alternative quarantine options for travellers who wish to enter Cambodia through Phnom Penh International Airport – Sokha Phnom Penh Hotel & Residence and the Courtyard by Marriott Phnom Penh. In a notice detailing guidelines issued

  • Provinces on Thai borders put in lockdown amid Delta fears

    The government has decided to place several border provinces in lockdown for two weeks in a bid to prevent the new coronavirus Delta variant spreading further into community. According a directive signed by Prime Minister Hun Sen late on July 28, the provinces include Koh Kong,

  • Visa A holders get to quarantine at Himawari Hotel

    The Ministry of Health has permitted foreign diplomats, UN and International NGO officials to undergo quarantine at Himawari Hotel in the capital in case they do not have a separate place suitable for this purpose, but the government would not be responsible for the expenses.

  • Jabs for kids bring hope for school reopenings

    Cambodia is tentatively planning to reopen schools – at least at the secondary level – when the vaccination of children aged 12-17 is completed, even though daily transmissions and deaths in other age groups remain high. Schools across the country have been suspended since March 20, one month

  • China denies Mekong hacking

    As the US and its allies joined hands last week to expose what they allege to be China’s Ministry of State Security’s malicious cyber activities around the world, the attention also turned to Cambodia with the US Department of Justice claiming that four