Universal testing proposed in red zones

KUCHING: Bintulu MP Datuk Seri Tiong King Sing has called upon the Health Minister to implement immediate universal testing for Covid-19 in red zones with high caseload.

“With more delay, the country’s losses will accelerate and many more lives will be needlessly sacrificed. Short-term pain is always preferable to long-term suffering. We need to decisively seal off the pandemic-plagued areas.

“Test everyone and find those asymptomatic carriers and keep them isolated for treatment. Let’s humbly learn from China’s experience and experts by adopting their model to contain the coronavirus with combined Eastern and Western strategies.

“Regardless of how severe the patient’s symptoms are, they should be admitted to a hospital or Covid-19 Quarantine and Low-Risk Treatment Centre (PKRC), depending on the severity,” he said in a statement on Sunday (July 11).

Tiong said large spacious buildings such as school halls, balai raya (community halls), and others should be converted into interim PKRCs.

“Underground car parks have also been turned into medical facilities, with hospital beds and other necessary equipment,” he said.

The Progressive Democratic Party (PDP) president said the current testing procedure is flawed as it is not able to trace asymptomatic cases.

“At any stage, asymptomatic patients must not be allowed to be in close contact with their family members or risk transmitting the coronavirus,” he said.

Tiong said while Sarawak’s prevention and control measures against Covid-19 have received their share of criticism, containing the pandemic requires major proactive steps.

“We cannot adopt a passive attitude and wait for the pandemic to spiral out of control before trying to turn it around. Make excuses or blame the people, but any ineffective anti-pandemic measures must be corrected immediately without delay.

“The people are at their breaking point, and running out of options. There must be something wrong, and it all starts and ends with the Health Department. The strategy must be questioned,” he said.