Govt hospitals in Malaysia running out of ICU beds: Health official

Young girl who lost grandpa to Covid posts heartbreaking video urging the elderly to stay home

PETALING JAYA: Government hospitals in Malaysia are running out of beds at intensive care units (ICU) to treat Covid-19 patients as the number of people falling critically ill escalates, said Health director-general Noor Hisham Abdullah.

Dr Noor Hisham said ICU occupancy rates at hospitals in the capital city Kuala Lumpur, and in Selangor, Penang, Sarawak, Kedah and Perak are over 80 per cent and some hospitals have even used up all the ICU beds designated to treat coronavirus patients.

Dr Noor Hisham said while hospitals can turn normal wards into ICUs with the necessary equipment, it will be a struggle to constantly keep up if critical Covid-19 cases continue to rise.

"The country is currently facing an uptick in category 4 and 5 cases which require oxygen and ventilators and those in the vulnerable groups such as the elderly and those with comorbidities are typically affected," he said in a Facebook post on Saturday.

The figures may be scary but one young girl is making a determined bid to keep the numbers down.

Phang Jin Ern, 10, made a video that went viral, detailing her family's heartbreaking experience of losing her grandfather to Covid-19.

"I posted the video because I wanted to tell people, especially grandfathers and grandmothers and the elderly, to stay at home.

"I want people to know that the disease could take away the lives of anyone and my grandfather was among those whose life was taken," Jin Ern said in a phone interview from her home in Puchong, Selangor.

Her grandfather, 78-year-old Kaw Choon, succumbed to Covid-19 at Sungai Buloh Hospital in January.

A few weeks after her grandfather's passing, Jin Ern posted a 10-minute video in Mandarin about her family's experience on YouTube.

The video has received 157,325 views as of noon on Saturday.


"I was very close to my grandfather, and I miss him dearly," said the girl, who could not even say goodbye to her grandfather because of the virus curbs.

Malaysia reported that 36 more people died of the virus yesterday, taking the toll to 1,902.

It recorded 3,780 new Covid-19 cases yesterday, bringing the total to 470,110.

Selangor recorded the highest number of cases at 1,275. - THE STAR