Sharing Biomedical Engineering Experience in Malaysia during the COVID-19 Pandemic
October 28, 2020 | Evaluations & Guidance
The COVID‑19 pandemic is caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS‑CoV‑2). The outbreak, caused by what was originally an "unknown virus," was first identified in December 2019 in Wuhan, China, when Chinese public health authorities reported several cases of acute respiratory syndrome. In Malaysia, these reports prompted authorities to go on high alert and prepare mitigation plans in case the virus hit the country.
Malaysia detected its first cases on January 25, 2020, when three Chinese nationals that were COVID-19 positive entered Malaysia via Singapore. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic. By mid-March, there were over 200 cases reported daily in Malaysia, forcing the government to implement a lockdown via a Movement Control Order (MCO) nationwide, beginning March 18, to mitigate the spread of the disease. The largest cluster of confirmed cases in Malaysia was linked to an annual mass religious assembly in Kuala Lumpur held between February 27 and March 1, involving more than 14,500 local and 1,500 international attendees. This prompted the largest contact tracing exercise ever to have been conducted in Malaysia.
The Malaysian government designated Sungai Buloh Hospital, a public hospital located approximately 25 km northwest of Kuala Lumpur, as the country's main COVID-19 hospital. Steps taken by the Malaysian Ministry of Health (MOH) to increase the number of beds for COVID-19 patients in the country included:
Increasing the number of beds from 900 to 2,000 in Sungai Buloh Hospital.
Putting plans in place to convert the day-care center and operating...