No swab for asymptomatic patients

Medical staff doing a swab test on a patient. Photo: Bernama

KUCHING: Asymptomatic Covid-19 patients should be discouraged from undergoing swab tests.

Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Datuk Amar Dr James Jemut Masing noted that the Sarawak Disaster Management Committee (SDMC) had mentioned in a recent report that 99.85 percent of those who tested positive in Sarawak were in Categories 1 and 2, which were not life-threatening.

He felt that people had failed to understand the data provided and thus the fear of Covid-19 being linked with deadly consequences had remained in their minds.

“After listening to various talks by international experts on Covid-19, I am convinced that after given two doses of the vaccine, a person is relatively protected from Covid-19’s deadly impact.

“They may get infected but with no deadly consequences. In layman’s terms, it is equivalent to a common cold. After a few days of rest, that person will recover,” he said in a statement on Saturday (Sept 4).

Nevertheless, Masing stressed that certain health measures and standard operating procedures (SOPs) would need to be adhered to as people moved around.

He felt that in order to assuage the people’s concerns and fears in this post-vaccination era, the state government should utilise the concept of comparing the number of hospitalisations from Covid-19 cases with persons who were vaccinated and non-vaccinated when explaining to the public at large.

“Once 80 percent of Sarawakians are vaccinated, normalcy could return – work, industries, plantations, and offices can be opened. However, stringent SOPs still need to be enforced.

“The theme ‘Lindung Diri, Lindung Semua’ (Protect Yourself, Protect All) should still be used. In this post-vaccination era, movement control orders (MCOs) should be a thing of the past,” he said.

He noted that Covid-19 was now evolving into the endemic stage in the nation, especially in Sarawak, due to vaccinations.

Masing said that even after the rolling out of the Covid-19 vaccinations, people were still fearful and viewed the dangers posed by Covid-19 as they were during the pre-vaccination era.

“That fear is deeply embedded in our minds – that being Covid-19 positive means death. This is further worsened by the ways we highlight the number of people infected by Covid-19 without telling the public the severity of the infection.” 

He also said the new Health Ministry under the leadership of its minister Khairy Jamaluddin was using the right approaches in containing Covid-19, adding that in this way, Covid-19 could be contained without killing businesses.

“Let’s learn to live with Covid-19 intelligently,” urged Masing.