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MoH clarifies home isolation policy

James Kon

The Ministry of Health (MoH) on Thursday focussed on home isolation and its management as well as the additional automated system in the BruHealth app to clarify public confusion on home quarantine.

Medical officer and head of patient monitoring team looking after covid-19 patients under home isolation Dr Hajah Martina binti Dato Seri Paduka Haji Kifrawi said, “Currently, active cases are over 20,000 with the majority of patients isolated at home, unlike last year. We have to switch towards a digitalised process.”

She added, “Home isolation is for patients under Category 1 – asymptomatic and Category 2a – mild symptoms such as sore throat, flu and coughing that doesn’t cause breathing difficulty, loss of sense of taste, loss of sense of smell, diarrhoea not more than two times in 24 hours without any problem of urination, light fatigue and muscle ache that doesn’t affect the patients daily activities. These are common symptoms of COVID-19.”

Patients in Category 2b and above are not allowed to be isolated at home. They must be admitted to isolation centres where doctor and nurses can closely monitor their conditions, she told a press conference.

If an individual is confirmed to be COVID-19 positive, she said, “the individual must report the antigen rapid test (ART) results via the ART feature in the BruHealth app. A notification for the next steps to follow will be sent via the app.”

Dr Hajah Martina binti Dato Seri Paduka Haji Kifrawi. PHOTO: JAMES KON

“Positive cases also need to inform close contacts who were exposed two days before the swab date to adhere to the close contact protocols,” Dr Hajah Martina added.

After being categorised as 1 or 2a, she said, “the patients are then allowed to be in home quarantine. They are advised to avoid other family members who are negative by staying in a separate room”.

During recovery, she said, “patients must report their health status (self-triage) to the BruHealth app. This must be done every day for the medical team to monitor their conditions.

“If we notice the worsening of the symptoms, we will call them. However, if the patients experience more severe symptoms, they must immediately call 991 and not wait for us to contact them.

“Health package will be delivered. Patients need to screen themselves with the ART on the fifth day and repeat the test depending on the result. The ART result must be submitted to the BruHealth app. The definition of first day is when the BruHealth code turns purple.

Discharge will be based on the result of ART.”

Explaining in the ART chart to discharge, she said, “On the fifth day of ART, if a patient is tested negative, he or she can only be discharged if the result is negative the following day (sixth day).

“However, if the ART result remains positive in the fifth day, the patient will need to carry out a second ART screening on the seventh day of quarantine.

“If the result is negative, then he or she will be discharged. However if the result is positive, they will have to extend the quarantine period to 10th day and be discharged on the 11th day.

“The current maximum quarantine period is 10 days. The notification for automatic discharge will be based on the BruHealth code colour change from purple to green.”

The panel of officials from the MoH at the press conference included Deputy Permanent Secretary (Professional) at the MoH Dr Ang Swee Hui, Public Health Consultant and Head of Disease Control Division at the MoH Dr Justin Wong and Infectious Diseases Consultant Dr Hajah Riamiza Natalie binti Haji Momin.


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