KUALA LUMPUR: The Government will launch a large-scale public awareness campaign on Influenza A (H1N1) beginning this week to educate the public on the pandemic in view of the worsening scenario in the country.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said the Government would also make available anti-viral medicine for the public at hospitals and clinics nationwide.
He said the decisions were made after consultation with Health Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai and Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Ismail Merican on ways to contain the spread of the pandemic locally.
“The most effective measure is through public education, that is, by educating the public through the provision of guidelines.
“Hence, a large-scale public awareness campaign will be held to provide such guidelines,” he told reporters after opening the National Heart Institute’s new building here yesterday.
To date, the flu has infected 1,983 people and killed 32 locally.
Najib also advised those who had fever to take extra precautions and refrain from going to public places.
“If one has a fever, the best thing to do is to rest at home until one recovers because if one goes out, others may be infected.
“Even in the house, they are advised to wear masks to avoid spreading the virus to family members,” he said.
He added that the anti-viral stock would be increased from the current 10% of the population to 20% involving an additional allocation of RM20mil.
“The Health Ministry, through the hospitals and clinics, will supply the anti-viral drug more widely so that more people can get the injections to help prevent a more virulent strain of the virus,” he said.
Najib said the Government would not impose any travel ban as this was a global pandemic.
Liow meanwhile told reporters later that the ministry was planning to rope in private medical practitioners to help contain the spread of the disease.
Advising the people not to panic, he said:
“The important thing is to control the situation together by maintaining personal hygiene and taking certain steps like self-quarantine, social distancing and getting immediate treatment for the symptoms.”
Last week, Liow ordered all the public and private clinics and hospitals to use rapid influenza screening tests for those who displayed the symptoms as part of the additional strategies to contain the spread. — The Star online.
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