Sunday, 20 Jun 2021

Johor to carry out targeted Covid-19 testing in Johor Baru

ISKANDAR PUTERI (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) – Johor will carry out targeted Covid-19 testing around its capital Johor Baru soon, said Menteri Besar Hasni Mohammad.

He said the government decided on the move after the daily number of Covid-19 cases in the state did not show any sign of decreasing.

“The state government, through the Sultan Ibrahim Foundation, received 20,000 antigen rapid test kits (RTK-Ags) from Singapore, which we will use in the targeted testing.

“At the moment, we have no plans to carry out mass testing, ” he said after chairing the Covid-19 Immunisation Task Force (CITF) meeting with National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme coordinating minister Khairy Jamaluddin on Tuesday (June 8).

Datuk Hasni said the state was in the process of getting more RTK-Ags to make the targeted testing a success.

He added that the objective was not merely to find out whether or not a person has Covid-19.

It is also aimed at creating awareness among people on the importance of following standard operating procedures (SOPs).

“Efforts in battling the pandemic are not only through vaccination, but it also involves everyone to follow the rules,” he said.

Mr Hasni added that there should be more awareness in the community, as several sectors that were allowed to operate seemed to have low adherence to SOPs.

Meanwhile, Johor has requested the Malaysian Armed Forces (MAF) to provide additional Covid-19 medical support at Hospital Sultanah Aminah (HSA), in view of the state’s stretched healthcare system.

Johor Health and Environment Committee chairman R. Vidyananthan said the MAF has agreed to set up a field hospital in front of the hospital’s main building and is expected to begin operations on June 17.

He said the MAF will be assembling its assets and equipment by Wednesday to provide 60 hospital beds and four intensive care unit (ICU) beds in stages.

“They were called in to provide assistance because there was an increase of some 30 per cent of Covid-19 patients at government hospitals in Johor Baru since the start of Hari Raya.

“This has contributed to the increase in bed occupancy for Covid-19 patients to more than 95 per cent, including the ICU wards,” he said.

He said the armed forces will deploy three officers and 30 paramedics to the field hospital. The personnel will work together with the hospital staff.

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Johor recorded 456 new Covid-19 cases on Tuesday, bringing the total to over 62,000.

As at Sunday, 1,247 Covid-19 patients were being treated in the state’s government hospitals. They comprised 105 patients in ICU wards, where 82 of them were on ventilators.

Mr Vidyananthan said that there were 24 patients receiving treatment for Covid-19 at several private hospitals here, where two were placed on ventilators.

He said the HSA field hospital’s length of operation depended on the Covid-19 situation in the state, especially in Johor Baru and the surrounding districts.

Besides the MAF and Health Ministry, the field hospital also involves the National Disaster Management Agency (Nadma) and Johor government through its disaster management committee, he added.

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