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Iskandar Puteri MP Lim Kit Siang has questioned why Covid-19 deaths continue to climb despite the government painting a picture that the pandemic situation was improving.
"Is there any explanation why Malaysia is heading towards over 6,000 Covid-19 deaths in the month of August – the National Day month - when in August last year there were only two Covid-19 deaths?" he asked in a statement.
The government had, among others, touted the progression in nine states and federal territory under the National Recovery Plan (NRP), relaxation of rules for the fully vaccinated and less severe symptoms suffered by Covid-19 patients, thanks to the mass vaccination drive.
Lim cited community activist Dr Mohamed Rafick Khan, who pointed out that despite the vaccination efforts, death numbers were growing.
"This has nothing to do with vaccination. The distribution and death stats degradation due to poor capacity and capabilities at the hospitals. It relates to medical staff fatigue and serious loss of motivation.
“We are facing this issue today because policy-makers have not paid adequate attention to hospital development. They had relied on the private sector to provide the services. We have not hired and trained adequate medical resources," Rafick had said in a commentary.
Rafick, who formerly served as a physician with the Malaysian Armed Forces, said when the government presents the new indicators of the NRP, people needed to understand them in the context of hospital admissions and death numbers.Iskandar Puteri MP Lim Kit Siang
Last Saturday, Finance Minister Tengku Zafrul Abdul Aziz announced that the government will use new indicators to determine how states progress under the NRP.
Instead of relying on the number of new Covid-19 cases, which will cause every state to fail from progressing beyond Phase 1 of the NRP except for Perlis and Labuan, Zafrul said it will be based on the number of hospital admissions for Category 3, 4 and 5 patients.
Category 1 patients are asymptomatic and Category 2 patients have mild symptoms.
Category 3 patients have more serious symptoms like pneumonia but can likely still breathe on their own, whereas those in Category 4 need oxygen supply. Category 5 patients require a ventilator to breathe.
The government had touted that with the ongoing mass vaccination efforts, around 98 percent of Covid-19 patients are now only experiencing Category 1 or 2 symptoms while only two percent saw more serious symptoms.
This is an improvement from the situation in December last year where 89 percent of Covid-19 patients experience no or mild symptoms while 11 percent saw more serious or life-threatening situations.
However, deaths have increased significantly as the scale of the pandemic expanded greatly.