One of the protocols that differentiated Malaysia from other countries in handling the Covid-19 outbreak is that a patient will have to remain in the hospital if they still test positive on the 13th day of quarantine and will only be discharged once they no longer test positive. In certain other countries, a patient would be allowed to go home once they show mild or no symptoms.
However, the Ministry of Health has changed their protocol and will be discharging Covid-19 patients even if they test positive at the end of their 14-day treatment at the hospital.
This is because they would no longer be infectious, said health director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah.
“According to a (recent) World Health Organisation report, if they have passed the 14 days (of treatment), the chances of them infecting others are zero,” he said during his press conference on Tuesday (26 May).
“With that new information that we have obtained, if after 14 days, even though the PCR (polymerase chain reaction) test is positive, we can discharge them.”
He added that Covid-19 patients may still test positive after 14 days due to virus shedding or because the test detected a fragment of the dead virus, reported The Star.
He said that previously, once a patient has been quarantined for 13 days, they will have to test negative twice in a period of more than 24 hours before they can be discharged. They later changed the protocol with one negative being enough for a patient to be discharged.
However, after receiving information from WHO as well as research from other countries that infectivity declines after 14 days, a patient will get to go home while still testing positive at the end of their quarantine.
“Even if the PCR test detects the virus, it would be because of virus shedding or the fragment of a dead virus, so when it is detected by the PCR test, it is a weak positive. So the infectivity is almost zero,” he said.
Hopefully this new protocol wouldn’t start any new infections in the community. Please stay home and avoid crowded places.
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