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Higher number of COVID deaths due to untreated illnesses

Azlan Othman

The prevalence of non-communicable diseases (NCD), such as heart disease, end-stage kidney disease that requires dialysis, uncontrolled diabetes and stroke, coupled with the lack of medical treatment contribute to the increase in the number of COVID-19 deaths in the Sultanate.

This was said by Minister of Health Dato Seri Setia Dr Haji Mohd Isham bin Haji Jaafar in a press conference yesterday, who added, “It is worse for those who are not unvaccinated.”

The minister also said, “Some question the validity of the official cause of death as they claim that these individuals never fell ill prior to the positive result from the antigen rapid test (ART).

There are people who seldom undergo medical check-ups, and only discover their underlying health conditions through surgery or other medical procedures.”

Quoting remarks from Legislative Council (LegCo) member Yang Berhormat Pehin Datu Imam Dato Paduka Seri Setia Ustaz Haji Awang Abdul Hamid bin Bakal on COVID-19 during the recently-concluded 18th LegCo Meeting, Dato Seri Setia Dr Haji Mohd Isham said the pandemic is a test from Allah the Almighty to the nation. Thus, “we need to unite, intensify our Doa and Tawakkal, and put our trust in Allah the Almighty wholeheartedly”.

Minister of Health Dato Seri Setia Dr Haji Mohd Isham bin Haji Jaafar speaks at the press conference. PHOTO: JAMES KON

With the increase in the number of COVID cases during the Endemic Phase, the minister said, “It is a challenging task for the nation. The government needs to protect life, in line with Maqasid Syariah (Islamic law), through the vaccination programme.”

He noted that “95 per cent of the population have received two doses of the vaccine”.

However, the rate for booster shots is under 60 per cent, which is “below our target”.

Nonetheless, he added, “Even though the daily numbers have been high, the number of patients in Categories 4 and 5 remain low in this Endemic Phase, compared to the number during the Pandemic Stage.

“Out of the 10,000 cases reported in the second wave, 4.5 per cent of patients were in Categories 4 and 5. Meanwhile, in the third wave, following a successful vaccination programme, over 80,000 cases have been recorded so far, 0.6 per cent of which are classified as Categories 4 and 5.”

The minister reiterated, “The spike in cases is something that we had expected for the Endemic Phase. The goal is to flatten the curve instead of stopping the spread.

“While the Omicron BA2 sub-variant is more transmissible, thus increasing the rate of infection in the population, thanks to the booster programme, the rate of severe cases (Categories 4 and 5) is still low.”



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