The Ministry of Health (MOH) is prepared to face the possibility of more new COVID-19 cases in the next one or two weeks, said Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah.

MOH is more prepared this time, he said in terms of equipment and experience of treating COVID-19 patients compared to the spread of the pandemic which began in March.

He said the projected rise of new cases followed active detection conducted in focus areas especially in Sabah and Kedah.

“Detection is being conducted on the grounds and we will obtain more cases in the focus areas. We expect (new cases) to increase in the next one or two weeks.

“This is our action from the start and we could see effective control of infection cases,” he said at a media conference on the development of COVID-19 here today.

Dr Noor Hisham said positive COVID-19 cases involving the Benteng cluster in Sabah and the Tembok cluster in Kedah are under control as most of their cases are confined in prison and detention centre.

He said MOH is confident this public health approach could break the chain of infection as the ministry had successfully terminated 101 clusters earlier.

He said this is the best way to contain the spread of the infection as a vaccine has not yet been found.

“If we practise public health methods such as physical distancing, wearing face mask and frequently washing hands, we could bend the curve of the third wave like we did in the two earlier waves.

“Our enemy is still the same, so do not blame one another. The cooperation of all parties is essential. This method is more effective to prevent the spread of the infection up to 82 per cent.

Meanwhile, Dr Noor Hisham said MOH is looking at the standard operating procedure (SOP) to contain COVID-19 infection in detention centres.

On the need to beef up medical teams and equipment in Sabah, he said the mobilisation of assistance had begun two weeks ago and the need to provide more assistance would be monitored from time to time.

Dr Noor Hisham said MOH would be deploying support teams, despatch personal protection equipment, respiratory equipment and open more low-risk treatment centres as quarantine centres for stabilised positive COVID-19 cases as a preventive measure and the control of infection from Sabah could be better handled.

From 317 new cases today, 37 cases were from visitors returning from Sabah, bringing the total cases with history of travelling to Sabah reported since Sept 20 to 176 cases.

On the concerns of parents over the safety of their children in schools, he said MOH has not decided to close schools even though schools should be cautious and adhere to the SOP set to carry out activities in schools.