19 March 2020
STATEMENT BY COLLEGE OF EMERGENCY PHYSICIANS
1. Covid-19 pandemic has become a global phenomenon and Malaysia has seen more than 700 patients so far.
2. Since the beginning of the cluster outbreak, Ministry of Health had quickly started measures by screening suspects, detecting contacts, creating screening areas and creating specific admitting hospitals. Both the Public and Private facilities are cooperating and collaborating.
3. Advisories had been given for the public to practise frequent handwash, avoiding the crowd and wearing mask if having respiratory symptoms. Recently, Movement Restriction Order (MRO) had been issued by the government to all Malaysians in an effort to break the chain of virus transmission.
4. Emergency Departments around the country had taken all measures in the face of this pandemic. Suspects of Covid-19 are isolated to a separate are for screening.
5. The College of Emergency Physicians urges the public to adhere strictly to the MRO, advocate social distancing and avoid any events involving mass gathering. Anyone having symptoms such as cough, sore throat or runny nose must wear mask. The public should wash their hands with water and soap upon touching objects and avoid touching face and mouth. Social distancing practice can be made by being more than 1 metre away from others.
6. The college would also advise that not all individuals having upper respiratory tract symptoms are covid-19. Just like in normal times, many of these cases are the usual cough and cold which are may not due to covid-19. If you do not have any close contacts with other covid-19 cases, or part of Sri Petaling religious congregation and has not come back from countries such as China, Japan, South Korea, Europe, Scandinavia and many others within the last 14 days, please do not to come to Emergency Departments. Such cases should go to the nearest public or private clinics.
7. Emergency Departments are focused on treating emergency cases, and unnecessary attendance of non-emergency cases will cause added strain to the services. Coming to the emergency departments will only increase the risk of getting infections as the ill ones are congregated at hospitals.
8. The Ministry of Health (MOH) facilities will only perform throat swab examinations according to the agreed guidelines. Most suspects without symptoms will be followed up by health department and supplied with home assessment tools (HAT). Concerned public can also utilize listed private laboratories and private hospitals that offered similar services.
9. To all frontliners throughout the country, we implore all to protect yourself. Please wear appropriate personal protective equipment (PPEs). Please observe the full steps of donning and doffing the PPEs. All of you carry out important duties with risks not different from soldiers fighting for the country in a battle. We salute you and hope that non will be infected. All of you are very precious in this difficult time.
10. It takes everyone to win this battle against the virus. If everyone in Malaysia practises the preventive strategies as advised by the ministry, we can stop this virus from spreading. The college believes that winning this battle is done with every member of the public working together by practising preventive measures at all times. Together, we shall overcome this pandemic.
College of Emergency Physicians
Academy of Medicine, Malaysia