Philippines reopens wards as ASEAN nations deal with disease ups and downs
Elderly people being vaccinated against Covid-19 in Manila, March 2021. (AFP file photo)
Rising Covid-19 cases threaten to overburden Malaysia’s overcrowded hospitals, and the Philippines has reopened coronavirus treatment wards amid a surge in Southeast Asia. This underscores the need for governments to adapt to the ebb and flow of disease in a world we currently live with.
More than 70% of government hospital beds Malaysia As of April 29, occupancy was up from 50% a week earlier. Authorities have appealed to those who tested positive to comply with the mandated seven-day quarantine in an effort to stem the pressure on the health care system.
This surge has been fueled by recent rallies during the Hari Raya Aidilfitri holiday, when the country recorded 20 deaths in the two weeks ending 29 April, 25 more than in the previous 14 days. % more deaths.
In the Philippines, the positive rate among those tested jumped from just 7% at the beginning of April to 17% at the end of the month. Its health department has since urged hospitals to reopen Covid treatment facilities to curb the surge in cases, despite more than 80% of the country’s regular hospital beds and intensive care units being empty. bottom.
Cases are also rising in Vietnam, where pandemic-era restrictions have been reimposed in major cities. Hanoi’s public spaces have been obliged to wear masks indoors since late last month, and Ho Chi Minh City has ordered them to be worn again on school campuses.
And in Singapore, increased demand from an aging population has pushed waiting times to hospital wards to seven hours, up from five hours just two weeks ago, according to the Ministry of Health. Rise in Covid hospital admissions in city-states will only add to the tension.
The surge has alarmed officials as the already strained healthcare system in Southeast Asia after years of pandemics could further strain hospital resources.
One of the biggest sources of pressure is the acute shortage of medical staff. This follows the Covid-era exodus, citing harsh working hours and low wages.
Developing countries in the region, including the Philippines, the world’s largest nurse exporter, are also in a global bidding war for doctors, nurses and other personnel by well-financed countries in need of medical workers as well. placed at a disadvantage.