Appeal for more transparency in pandemic management

Dr Kelvin Yii

KUCHING: The federal and state governments have been urged to be more open with the current management of the Covid-19 pandemic in Sarawak.

Bandar Kuching MP Dr Kelvin Yii, in making this call, said both the federal and state governments must also be transparent with important data and parameters so that everyone can get a better picture of the disease burden and its spread in the state.

“Detailed Covid-19 data beyond the daily numbers and new cluster must be made accessible to ensure quick, informed decision-making across all sectors including for the public to better understand the decisions being made by the government including the implementation of the movement control order (MCO) or conditional movement control order (CMCO) in Sarawak,” he said in a Facebook post today.

He said this is important to raise confidence of the public which will in turn translate to better compliance and understanding.

“With the MCO being implemented in Kapit even when the place is still classified as orange yesterday, it is pertinent that the government is transparent with the justification of its decision to do some comparison to other parts of Sarawak which are red and have much higher rates of cases.

“Will we see a sudden increase of cases in the next few days in Kapit, possibly due to the backlog, justifying the decision to implement the MCO?” he asked.

Dr Yii stressed that the public should be educated on the justification of the decision to avoid unnecessary panic and confusion as they have far-reaching consequences including effects on the economy.

“I also urge the government to properly implement this MCO with clear standard operating procedures (SOPs) that are effectively communicated to the public so that there will be no confusion or inconvenience like how it was in Sibu when it was first implemented.

“If it is not properly implemented, it will not achieve its aim to curb the spread of the disease but will still take a toll on the economy of the area, especially affecting the poor including daily paid workers,” he said.

Noting that it may be due to rural demographic and lack of healthcare facilities in those areas, he said it will be useful for the government to publish data including daily regional infection (Rt) value.

“It will help us to be more aware of the infection control standpoint in that particular area. Any value above one means that the number of cases is expected to grow and any number less than one means that the virus is under control and the number of cases can be expected to decrease over time,” he said.

Dr Yii suggested that the Rt value by state can and should also be used as an indicator on when an MCO should be declared for a district in the state and when it should be changed to MCO, CMCO or recovery movement control order (RMCO).