What to do if you suspect you have COVID-19

What to do if you have COVID-19 Symptoms Malaysia
Coronavirus symptoms and treatment
Image adapted from: Wikimedia Commons (left)

Flattening the curve are 3 words we now have ingrained in our brains with Malaysia officially under a Movement Control Order. Most of us are probably more than paranoid about being Patient Zero now, especially since symptoms like fever, cough and sore throat are both common ailments and symptoms of COVID-19.

It’s important to remain calm during this time and not believe fake news stories that have been circulating, which is why we’ve come up with a guide on what to do if you think you might have caught the virus. This includes symptoms to look out for, how to get tested, and insurance plans to cover you during this time of uncertainty. 

Recognizing COVID-19 symptoms

Covid-19 Symptoms
Image credit:
WHO International 

Because common symptoms of COVID-19 are very similar to flu-like ailments most of us get regularly, our Spidey Senses can’t help but tingle whenever someone coughs around us. But then the inner ah-ma in us also starts to wonder if it’s just because we haven’t drank enough water and are just overreacting. 

Symptoms of Covid-19
Gathering info from reputable sources such as WHO and CDC, Business Insider has a helpful chart that lists out the symptoms of COVID-19 versus common cold, flu and allergies.
Image credit: Business Insider 

This is why it’s important to educate yourself on what the actual symptoms are for COVID-19 in relation to other flu-related maladies, and always abide by precautions mandated by World Health Organization (WHO).

It’ll help you catch any coronavirus-related symptoms early on and prevent its spread. 

This is especially important if you’re more susceptible to the virus. WHO currently constitutes high-risk individuals as those with pre-existing medical conditions and elderly persons over the age of 60. But you can also check to see if you happen to fall under this category with Doctor On Call’s online self-assessment test

Covid-19 precautions
Practise good hygiene and social distancing as advised by WHO
Image credit: @WHOMalaysia

It’s also important to get yourself tested if you know for sure that you’ve been in close contact with any confirmed cases. If so, you can help everyone out by identifying yourself on this helpful site by Malaysia Kini that lists out cases by location. 

You can also keep up-to-date on new cases with the Ministry of Health’s (MoH) official Twitter page. They regularly debunk fake news and provide infographics for those wanting to keep tabs on current affairs related to COVID-19

Where to go if you suspect you have COVID-19

Hospital Kuala Lumpur
The designated hospitals have isolation facilities, and staff have been trained to handle COVID-19 cases.
Image credit: Wikimedia Commons 

If you’re worried you may have contracted the virus, government-run public hospitals are equipped to screen and admit COVID-19 patients. So while 24-hour clinics are great to ease any midnight worries over your persistent cough and fever, you’ll likely be referred to any of these 59 hospitals nationwide. 

Currently, 26 hospitals in Malaysia are admitting confirmed cases. You can see the full list of hospitals compiled by the MoH here.

According to Malay Mail, screening tests only cost RM1 and are free for students. But you’ll have to meet certain criterias before you get screened, including travel history to countries with outbreaks such as Italy and China, or close contact with confirmed cases.

You’ll be admitted as a Patient Under Investigation (PUI) if you qualify for screening. And depending on your symptoms, you’ll be asked to self-quarantine for 14 days if you’re not at risk. If you’re confirmed to have COVID-19, you’ll be admitted to quarantine centres at the nearest of the 26 hospitals.

Private hospitals are offering home screenings

Gleneagle Kuala Lumpur Hospital
Image credit:
Gleneagles Kuala Lumpur

On 12th March 2020, The Star reported that IHH Healthcare – Asia’s largest group of private hospitals – are now rolling out on-demand home testing services for COVID-19. This allows public hospitals to prioritise treating confirmed cases while those paranoid about contracting the virus – but don’t meet the conditions to get tested at public hospitals – can get screened too. 

Participating hospitals include Gleneagles and Pantai Hospitals in Kuala Lumpur and Melaka, which offer home screenings for those who don’t meet the PUI criteria or have no travel history to places with outbreaks. 

Prices are quoted upon appointment, as location will be taken into account with medical officers showing up at your home or office to take samples from you. And you’ll be glad to know that Pantai Hospitals in Ipoh are already offering appointment-base drive-through services to lessen costs and speed up testing processes, with the same services underway in Penang.

Pantai Hospital
Hotline: 03-4280 9115
Opening hours: Mon-Fri 9AM-5PM | Sat 9AM-1PM (Closed Sundays)

Hotline: 011-1301 3579
Opening hours: Mon-Fri 9AM-5PM (Closed on weekends and public holidays)

Other means for those paranoid about having symptoms

Ministry of Health Doctor on Call
Image adapted from:
Doctor On Call

MoH also has a virtual portal powered by Doctor On Call, where you’ll find all you need to know about COVID-19 in Malaysia, including emergency hotlines. You can also speak to an MoH specialist about symptoms you’re facing, with hotlines available daily from 8.30AM-5PM.

All you have to do is sign up for an account with your IC number, and you’ll have access to free consultations through forums and text messaging with a qualified doctor. There are also video and telephone call options with a doctor for a fee. 

MoH Doctor on Call forum
Speak to qualified doctors with KKM’s Doctor On Call online portal
Image adapted from: Doctor On Call 

And while we wait for more affordable COVID-19 Test Kits from MyEG Services Berhad to be approved by the MoH, those of you living in KL, Putrajaya, Kajang, Seremban, and Nilai will have the MoH’s already-approved Qualitas Health’s COVID-19 Screening at Home kits for RM700/pax with results in 24 hours.

Qualitas Health home screening kitSteps to get a COVID-19 Test Kit from Qualitas Health
Image credit: Qualitas Health

Check if your insurance covers treatment

Insurance policies

With WHO declaring COVID-19 a pandemic, you’ll be glad to know that insurance companies in Malaysia will cover pre-hospitalisation, hospitalisation, and post-hospitalisation costs, and will even have compassionate benefits for those affected by the virus. 

This includes common insurance companies such as Tokio Marine, Prudential, and AmMetLife, all of which have released statements saying that they will be covering COVID-19 cases if you have an insurance plan with them with no additional charges

If you don’t have an insurance plan with the companies above, just confirm with your current insurance provider to check what their T&Cs are.

Coronavirus symptoms and treatments in Malaysia

It’s not an easy time for Malaysians, but we have to do what we can to get through this. And those who suspect they may have contracted the virus needn’t panic – just identify your own symptoms, head to the nearest public hospital, or get tested at home. 

If you’re feeling iffy about getting infected or spreading the virus, just follow the guidelines of the Movement Control Order. All you have to do is practice good personal hygiene and avoid going out unless necessary. We’ll still have our share of foodie adventures and travel trips after everything calms down. 

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