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An eerily deserted area of downtown George Town, Penang on Sunday, March 15. NSTP/ARIFF SARBRI
An eerily deserted area of downtown George Town, Penang on Sunday, March 15. NSTP/ARIFF SARBRI

KUALA LUMPUR: Six medical professionals have called on the government to consider implementing a nationwide lockdown in view of a sharp spike in Covid-19 cases in the country.

A joint statement issued by the doctors said they believe that if a lockdown were imposed, carriers of the virus could be easily isolated and identified, and this would help minimise the disease’s spread.

“My medical colleagues and I have been engrossed with the development of the Covid-19 pandemic, and we can see the alarming rate at which it is increasing, from 41 new cases yesterday to 190 today.

“I am sure you are assisted by eminent members of the medical fraternity, including ID (infectious disease) physicians, intensivists, virologists and epidemiologists. But, I wonder if the authorities have considered a lockdown?

“The advice for social distancing has obviously fallen on deaf ears, as I see people going about their daily lives as if there is no threat at all.

“I do consider the implication of such measures, but we do not want to be too late, like other countries, which are fighting a losing battle now. Every day matters,” said the statement, which was addressing Health director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah.

“If a lockdown is imposed, the many carriers in the community now will surface when they develop symptoms, while at the same time, they do not infect others. I understand the impact on social order and the economy (this would entail) but if it blows out, we will be dealing with a worse outcome,” the statement read.

The doctors also wondered whether the government has consulted Singapore and Hong Kong for advice in tackling the pandemic, as the two countries did well in handling the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) outbreak in 2003.

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