PKR vice-president Dr Lee Boon Chye today reiterated his call to declare emergency for the A(H1N1) outbreak.
He pointed out that since the first imported case on May 15, 2009, the total numbers of infected patients has surpassed 2000 with 51 deaths as of yesterday.
“The number of reported cases is actually a gross under-estimate of the real number since only a fraction of patients with influenza-like illness (ILI) underwent H1N1 confirmatory test, ever since we entered from control and containment phase to the mitigation phase of the epidemic.
“The Ministry of Health had failed in the control and containment period to prevent the virus from entering the country at the borders or airports and subsequently spreading within the community,” he said in a statement.
“I hope that via effective mitigation measures, the social, economic and health impact of the epidemic can be minimised,” he added.
Lee, who is a medical doctor, expects the epidemic to peak in three to six months and the mortality rate may reach 1,000 by year-end.
Hence, he said the cabinet should implement preventive measures immediately as outlined in the National Influenza Pandemic Preparedness Plan 2006, which includes activation of the National Security Council (NSC) at the national, state and district levels.
The function of the NSC is to co-ordinate all governmental and non-governmental agencies to combat H1N1 Influenza A virus epidemic,” he added.
Control measures have failed
Lee stressed that urgent decision on this matter is important because the increase in number of local transmission and deaths indicates that control measures to prevent and contain the infection to date has not been successful.
In view of this, the Gopeng parliamentarian made the following suggestions:
1. Start mandatory screening (of body temperature and symptom of Influenza A infection) at entrance to all public and private facilities where people congregate, including schools, hospitals, hotels, supermarkets, government offices, restaurants , factories etc.
2. Form a joint committee among BN and Pakatan Rakyat leaders so that both sides can co-operate hand-in hand in confronting the greatest crisis ever in our healthcare system.
“Tough measures are essential for the next few months while awaiting the availability of the vaccines to protect the high risk individuals,” he said.
“The Cabinet must re-examine the situation and review the existing measures to limit the extent of the epidemic, reduce mortality arising from the infection and minimise the social and economic impact,” he added.