Ramp up Covid-19 testing

Dr Kelvin Yii

KUCHING: The Sarawak Disaster Management Committee (SDMC) has been urged to ramp up Covid-19 tests in view of the increasing cases.

Bandar Kuching MP Dr Kelvin Yii said the number of cases could be higher and even more widespread in the community as testing had not been enough.

“Based on the known data from May 2, 4,050 tests were done, recording 587 cases, meaning the positive rate yesterday (Sunday) was 14.49 per cent — almost triple the recommended World Health Organisation (WHO) rate of below five per cent.

“Such a high positive rate has been consistent for the past week ranging from eight to 14 per cent, which shows that we are severely under-testing.

“The rate of infection per 100,000 people in Sarawak is also one of highest in the nation.

“If we look at the positive cases in Sarawak, there is still a high percentage of sporadic cases or cases not linked to existing clusters, again showing how widespread it is in the community,” he said in a Facebook post on Monday (May 3).

Dr Yii said as such, one of the keys to contain cases in an area was to ramp up testing.

“By doing so, we can initiate containment by detecting cases quickly, do necessary contact tracing and then isolation within the recommended 48 hours.”

At the same time, he said SDMC must be transparent. “I understand the need to not create panic, but keeping on the narrative that everything is under control and doing the same old steps over and over again expecting a different result is like burying our head in the sand.”

He added: “While there are talks of an impending movement control order (MCO), such a decision must be studied properly and based on scientific parameters.”

Dr Yii said should MCO 3.0 be implemented, “there must also be a better exit strategy in place.

“We cannot keep on implementing MCO and expecting it to address the issue as it comes at a high economic cost. The government should look at also helping all industries that are going to be affected.”

He stressed: “Regardless, the public should be properly informed, then be given assurance of all the steps that are being taken.

“In a public health crisis, we need to get the public to trust the system and the best way is to be transparent and proactive in all the measures taken and implemented properly without any double standards.”