Covid-19: Nearly 20,000 in M’sia suffering from long Covid, says Deputy Health Minister

KUALA LUMPUR: Almost 20,000 patients who recovered from Covid-19 are suffering from Post Covid Syndrome, or long Covid, says Datuk Dr Noor Azmi Ghazali.

“As of November this year, there are a total of 19,890 Covid-19 patients who were given appointments for follow up treatment at health facilities,” the Deputy Health Minister said when replying to a question raised by Lukanisman Awang Sauni (GPS-Sibuti) in Dewan Rakyat on Wednesday (Dec 8).

Based on observations, he said that there were five main symptoms exhibited by those with long Covid.

He said the five main symptoms were lethargy (78.9%), breathing difficulties when performing certain tasks (52.9%), coughing (18.1%), insomnia (14.5%) and anxiety (10.4%).

He added that those suffering from long Covid would usually experience symptoms from four to 12 weeks after recovery, with some patients experiencing symptoms after 12 weeks of recovery.

He noted that those suffering from long Covid symptoms would be referred to specialist doctors for follow up treatment.

He added that the follow-up treatment is based on the ministry’s Post Covid-19 Management Protocol to ensure that those suffering from long Covid have access to treatment and medication.

Apart from the Sungai Buloh Hospital and the UiTM Training Hospital, Dr Noor Azmi said that long Covid patients are also referred for treatment at 41 public and private health facilities.

To a question by Datuk Seri Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad (PH-Kuala Selangor), Dr Noor Azmi said there was no specific data at the moment on the effects of long Covid on children.

Dr Dzulkefly said that there are studies abroad showing that one out of seven children who had contracted Covid-19 suffer from cognitive deficit.

Dr Noor Azmi said that treatment provided for long Covid patients covered a range of health issues.

The treatment, he said, covered not only treatment for physical symptoms such as cardiovascular, respiratory issues but also neurological and mental health issues.

On a separate issue raised by RSN Rayer (PH-Jelutong), Dr Noor Azmi said that follow up tests carried out on the first case of the Omicron Covid-19 variant had returned negative.

He said that tests carried out on five close contacts also returned negative.

He added that the individuals had undergone strict quarantine prior to their release following the negative results.

The first Omicron Covid-19 variant in the country was detected in a 19-year-old South African private university student in Ipoh, who arrived from South Africa through Singapore on Nov 19.