Increase Covid-19 testing, vaccination

Dr Kelvin Yii

KUCHING: The government is urged to significantly increase the Covid-19 testing and vaccination rate which has dropped over the Hari Raya Aidilfitri festive holiday.

Bandar Kuching MP Dr Kelvin Yii noted there was a huge drop in nationwide testing on the first day of Raya from 87,458 (May 12) to 83,974 on the first day of Raya (May 13) and to 56,440 people on the second day (May 14).

“The positive rate on day one is at 5.78 percent and it went up on Day 2 to 7.32 pe cent which is above the World Health Organisation (WHO) recommendations of below 5 percent,” he said.

Dr Yii said this showed that not enough testing was done with Sarawak in particular recording a positive rate of 23.43 percent.

“If we do not ramp up our testing and tracing significantly, we will not know how many carriers out there who can spread the virus, and the longer we take to isolate them, the higher the number of people they can spread it to.

“On top of that, mass testing enables people with Covid-19 to be diagnosed earlier, isolated, and treated early to prevent seriously ill cases and deaths.

“The slower we test and diagnose them, the higher likelihood they will be brought in late with more severe complications thus increasing risk of death,” he said in a Facebook post on Saturday (May 15).

Dr Yii said the vaccination rate which dropped during the Raya holiday was a cause for concern and while it is understood that the frontliners were rested over the festive holiday, it was important that other workforce be mobilised to cover for them.

“Now that the Raya celebrations are over, there is no excuse for the country to not go all out to increase the vaccination drive.

“With the detection of different variants in our country, it is even more pertinent we speed up vaccination so we do not provide a conducive environment for the virus to mutate further,” he said.

The MP said if this was not done, the nation might end up heavily relying on a lockdown strategy that would not solve the problem but would also affect the livelihood of the people.