Govt urged to subsidise Covid-19 self-testing kits

For illustration.

KUCHING: The federal government was told to subsidise Covid-19 self-testing kits for all industries to enable them to reduce possible infections at their workplaces.

Bandar Kuching MP Dr Kelvin Yii said the self-testing kits must be made affordable for Covid-19 testing to be done on a weekly basis.

“This helps develop and maintain a work safety bubble to reduce the risk of transmission.

“By subsidising such test kits and making them affordable, it is much cheaper in a long run than the economic cost of such industries closing all the time when there is a cluster.

“This is where the government must facilitate the procurement of such test kits to make sure they are reliable, sensitive, and affordable, especially if purchased in bulk,” he said in a Facebook post on Sunday (June 27).

Dr Yii said the government must explore the use of test kits such as the breathalysers which were approved in Singapore and only took about one to two minutes to produce the results and did not involve swabs.

“In time, almost all industries including the airport, seaport, office buildings, malls, hospitals, factories and educational institutions can use these kits to screen their staff and visitors,” he said.

At the same time, the MP said the Covid-19 testing must be ramped up in line with the ongoing Covid-19 vaccination.

“The government cannot put all eggs in one basket and expect the vaccination drive to be the only way out of this crisis. The current average nationwide positive rate is about seven percent, which reflects the clear inadequate contact tracing and testing.

“The fact that 80 percent of the existing new cases are sporadic in nature is an indication on how important we must test more to identify, isolate and support as fast as possible especially in view of new variants including the feared Delta (Indian) variant”.

Dr Yii also stressed that clear and science-based standard operating procedures (SOPs) must be employed to reduce the spread of Covid-19.

“The government must have continuous engagement between the relevant ministries with all stakeholders and industries and even allow industries to propose their own sets of SOPs for their type of businesses to resume operations.

“This is to make sure that SOPs are targeted, clear and avoid illogical SOPs like we see during this current movement control order (MCO),” he said.