Kuala Lumpur: Two more persons died of swine flu in Malaysia taking the total number of people who have succumbed to H1N1 virus to 64, with a UN health agency estimating that at least 80,000 people may have been infected in this Southeast Asian country.
A seven-year-old boy and a 74-year-old woman were the latest victims, Health Minister Liow Tiong Lai said today adding that 384 new cases have been reported taking the total number of infected cases to 4,225.
Yesterday, three swine flu deaths were reported out of which two occurred due to delay in administering the patients with viral treatment, Liow said.
The Government will use its Price Control Act to control prices of face masks to curb profiteering during the influenza H1N1 pandemic, Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin has said.
The Health Minister also warned that the persons infected with swine flu could be fined up to 10,000 ringgit (Rs 130,000) or jailed up to two years if they did not isolate themselves.
Liow said that medical aid was straining as the number of infected H1N1 cases increased with hospitals across Malaysia witnessing triple number of patients as compared before the outbreak. Waiting time at some hospitals is up to four hours. Liow said doctors and healthcare staff were working around the clock to clear queues, however he added that 20 percent of the population could be infected within a year.
Some 0.1 to 0.4 percent of the population would die as a result of H1N1, he said adding, "However, most deaths will be due to complications of underlying diseases in people with chronic cardiovascular, pulmonary, diabetes and renal
"The situation is serious. We have reached a stage where the virus cannot be stopped. It is spreading rapidly and many Malaysians are infected. It is now in the hands of people to stop the spread," the minister said.
The Ministry has also drawn up a contingency plan for the second wave of the pandemic.
Liow said the Ministry would put in place all the contingency plans as stipulated in the National Influenza Pandemic Preparedness Plan and be prepared for a worst-case scenario.
Meanwhile, the WHO said about 80,000 Malaysians who may have been infected with influenza A (H1N1) was based on the number of confirmed cases reported by the Health Ministry since May.
First Published: Monday, August 17, 2009, 13:10