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More people buying masks as Covid-19 cases spike
Published on: Wednesday, December 06, 2023
By: FMT, Ameer Fakhri, Nicholas Chung
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More people buying masks as Covid-19 cases spike
Former deputy health minister Dr Lee Boon Chye says the government should keep a close eye on the Covid-19 situation.
PETALING JAYA: There has been an increase in the purchase of face masks following the recent spike in recorded Covid-19 infections, according to a healthcare product manufacturer.

Ideal Healthcare CEO Haminuddin Hamid said the sale of masks had been rising “very much”, adding that people could be stocking up given the increase in Covid-19 cases.

He told FMT that his company was still able to manage the spike in demand with its existing stock, and that sales to hospitals remained normal for the typical year-end period.

“But we are ready to ramp up production at any time,” he said.

“We already plan to bring in raw materials sufficient to meet demand, especially (to produce) surgical and N95 face masks for the government (sector),” he added when asked about a possible boost in production if the current demand for masks persists.

On Sunday, the health ministry said the number of new Covid-19 cases had increased by 57.3% to 3,626 last week compared with 2,305 recorded the week before.

Health director-general Dr Radzi Abu Hassan said there were eight active clusters involving a total of 121 cases, while hospital admissions had risen by 2.9%.

He said the situation was under control and that public healthcare facilities were not strained.

However, Berita Harian quoted Universiti Malaya virologist Sazaly Abu Bakar as saying the actual number of Covid-19 cases was likely higher as many were not conducting self-tests or reporting if they test positive.

Sazaly reportedly said the actual number of Covid-19 cases could stand at 5,000 to 10,000 a week now.

Former deputy health minister Dr Lee Boon Chye said Putrajaya must keep a close eye on the Covid-19 situation, especially to monitor the emergence of new variants.

“The government should also monitor any increase in the number of admissions and deaths due to Covid,” the former Gopeng MP said.

However, with 98% of cases reported only experiencing mild symptoms, Lee said there was no need for the government to impose preventive measures for now.

Instead, high-risk individuals should take their own preventive measures by wearing masks and practising good hygiene, he said.

Lee added that Covid-19 was like any other seasonal disease such as the flu, and would be an “ongoing phenomenon”.

He said the number of cases would fluctuate while an increase could lead to communal immunity, ultimately driving the numbers down again.

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