The Malaysian Health Ministry is working with the Defence Ministry to set up field hospitals in the states of Kelantan and Sarawak as the country grapples with a recent surge in Covid-19 cases.
These field hospitals are intended to handle non-Covid-19 cases so that the regular hospitals have more resources to treat Covid-19 patients coming in.
In a press conference on May 3, Health Minister Adham Baba said, according to The Star:
"The existing hospitals, especially their critical and intensive care unit wards, can be used or focused on dealing with the increase in Covid-19 cases."
Some 8,000 government employees have been mobilised to assist the Health Ministry, with the latest being a group of 800 dispatched to Kelantan and Sarawak.
Adham reiterated that interstate travel would not be allowed until May 17 and that 13 interstate clusters had been detected since April.
Malaysiakini quoted a state official, Izani Husin, who said that the Intensive Care Units in Kelantan were almost at full capacity.
A total of 55 out of 60 ventilators in the state are currently being used.
"The existing PKRC (quarantine and low-risk treatment centre) is already almost full. However, the field hospital and a new PKRC will only last a few days if the number of new Covid-19 cases does not subside. The situation in Kelantan is critical. We are forced to seek help from the Health Ministry and other states."
AstraZeneca in use
Malaysia has recently ramped up its vaccination programme by distributing the AstraZeneca vaccine purchased through COVAX, the global vaccine facility.
Although Malaysian health authorities have declared it safe for use, the vaccine will not be distributed in its main vaccination programme due to public concerns over blood clots.
Instead, Malaysians who still wish to get the AstraZeneca vaccine can opt-in and receive them at specialised centres.
Top image from Dr Adham Baba's Facebook page.