KUALA LUMPUR (THE STAR) – Malaysia’s Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said 91 per cent of the brought-in-dead (BID) cases in the country were unaware that they contracted COVID-19.
At a press conference yesterday, he said the finding was based on the analysis of 113 BID cases between February 5 and 21.
“We found through the survey, over 50 per cent of family members assumed the sickness experienced by the deceased was light, and did not refer them to a health facility quickly,” said the minister. “And when it was detected, it was too late.”
He urged those with family members who were senior citizens to seek help at a medical facility immediately if the latter showed any symptoms from high fever to prolonged coughing.
He said there were a lot of BID cases, where the cause of death was found to be COVID-19 upon post-mortem.
COVID-19 deaths must now be reported to the Health Ministry within 72 hours, Khairy said during the press conference.
From March 1, he added, the daily numbers will reflect the number of death reports received in the past 72 hours, which will be posted on Malaysia’s COVIDNOW website which tracks the country’s statistics regarding the pandemic.
The minister explained that previously, death reports were only announced once the registration process was completed at state level, and this could take some time.
“As such, there were a number of cases which were delayed before being announced. Hence, (there was) a backlog… I have ordered (this) to be stopped,” he said.
The minister noted that when the number of deaths was announced, it did not mean that they had taken place on the day itself. Some cases required further investigations, such as postmortems or laboratory tests, which could take up to four to six weeks.
“On March 2, 62 (deaths), or 54 per cent, are those which took place within 72 hours. Fifty-three deaths, or 46 per cent exceeded 72 hours,” he said, adding that the reporting process needed to be adjusted to obtain a clearer picture of Malaysia’s current COVID-19 situation.
On Wednesday, the Health Ministry reported 115 COVID-19 fatalities nationwide, the highest figure in a single day since the Omicron variant arrived in the country late last year.
The last time Malaysia logged a three-figure daily fatality rate was on October 12 last year, with 103 deaths.
The country’s cumulative fatalities now stand at almost 33,000, while the total number of recorded cases is almost 3.5 million.