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DPM, Health Ministry to consider disclosing A(H1N1) hotspots

PUTRAJAYA, 14 Aug 2009: Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin will discuss with Health Ministry officials the possibility of releasing information on hotspots or locations with rampant Influenza A(H1N1) cases in the country.

“We need to know if [disclosing] the hotspots will help curb the spread of the disease. If the Health Ministry feels that it would help, then we will go ahead and release [the information on] the locations.

“This differs from the haze, where we publish the hotspots. The haze can be seen [with] the naked eye, but not H1N1. So we have to be careful,” he said.

Muhyiddin said the country was now in “an alarming stage”, but added that the ministry had taken all precautionary measures to curb the outbreak.

“We are not hiding anything, and information is given to the public on a daily basis through the media. From there, we can know the locations, [for example] if a school is closed in a particular area.

“Although the country’s percentage of H1N1 cases is still low [when you consider] the overall population, we canot take this threat lightly,” he said.

Muhyiddin, who is also education minister, said among the steps taken by the government was to ensure that all hospitals in the country, including private hospitals, had stocked up on Tamiflu, the medicine used to fight H1N1.

“Public awareness has also been heightened. Now all hospitals know what measures to take in treating those who fall ill due to the virus,” he said.

He said that although there could be some locations in the country yet to record any H1N1 patients, it did not mean that the location was free from the virus.

He added that the government would not be complacent in handling H1N1 as it involved the lives of the people, and that an extra allocation of RM20 million had been disbursed to the Health Ministry to stock up on Tamiflu. — Bernama

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