File photo by Muhammad Rais Sanusi for illustration purposes.

KUCHING: Malaysia has been using hydroxychloroquine to treat individuals who have been infected with Covid-19, said Health director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah.

He said hydroxychloroquine is an anti-inflammatory and once used, the doctor would have to monitor the patient closely.

“Hydroxychloroquine is an anti-inflammatory. Hydroxychloroquine will reduce inflammation and we have to use it carefully because it has side effects and doctors have to monitor closely,” he said when responding to questions during the daily update press conference in Putrajaya today.

Dr Noor Hisham added that Malaysia had been using hydroxychloroquine to treat Covid-19 patients from day one.

According to him, the country’s Covid-19 testing capability has been enhanced from 8,000 tests to 27,000 tests per day.

He said five more test laboratories were also coming up soon to further enhance Malaysia’s testing capacity.

“We are using both, rapid test kit (RTK) and reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR).

“When we have enough tests, we look into target groups like the elderly and high-risk areas. We will continue to do screening and testing on all the eight target groups we have identified,” he added.

Dr Noor Hisham said the Ministry of Health (MoH) could not be certain of how many people across the country had been exposed to the Covid-19 virus.

“If the antibody is there, it means that the person has been exposed, but we don’t know when,” he said.

He added that the ministry could not come to a conclusion as to how many individuals had been exposed to Covid-19 until a community study was carried out.