October 25, 2021

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Fit And Go Forward

The politicians have failed us, it’s time for ‘kita jaga kita’

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© Malaysiakini (English)

YOURSAY | ‘I really don’t understand why there is a lack of testing capacity.’

As system buckles, MOH cuts down testing of close contacts

GreenRabbit1287: I am very troubled with this strategy by Health Ministry director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah. Local transmission among the community is now high.

Testing fewer people will mask the real numbers and what’s worse is we don’t even know who is positive and a walking spreader on our streets.

By masking the real numbers, people will start living like normal and be lackadaisical on the SOPs (standard operating procedures). People will stop trusting the reported numbers, which is becoming the case now.

Vaccines are not here yet and the government says healthy Malaysians not at high risk will only get vaccinated towards the end of the year or later. Worse still, other countries are raising concerns of mutated strains from UK and South Africa.

The government needs to put in place a task force comprising of scientists and medical professionals to come up with a proper plan to tackle the virus.

And also, a proper strategy to keep the economy running in this pandemic instead of relying on politicians and businesspersons who are more concerned with making money.

ManOnTheStreet: Noor Hisham, may I humbly ask why this “new” strategy is being employed? I just cannot comprehend the logic of it. How do we associate home quarantine with decreased testing?

The strategy of “If the number (of infected) exceeds 50, then it would suffice to take 30 samples, or 10 percent, whichever is lower.” So, if we have a factory cluster of 500 workers in their hostel, we just take 50 samples?

While other countries are increasing their testing and case detection, we are lowering it. Is asymptomatic transmission not critical? If we truly don’t have enough resources (you avoided saying this, though), why can’t we ramp up testing resources?

Another concern is instead of testing, we quarantine all of the close contacts. Would it not be more efficient to test them so they can go back to work the soonest possible?

Instead of being unnecessarily isolated and not contributing to the workforce for 10 whole days? Will this not have an economic impact?

A cornerstone of medicine is “prevention is better than cure”. Can we not demand the government of the day invest in increasing resources so that more testing can be done, as it should be?

Surely a few billion will be worthwhile compared to repeated MCOs (movement control orders) time and again which will cost tens, if not, hundreds of billions. Not to mention the suffering to the rakyat.

GreenSalmon5378: This arrangement is just like saying to the rakyat that you are on your own. The situation is expected to get worse soon.

Earlier, I thought with the emergency, more actions would be made to improve the situation, but it seems this is not the case.

Anonymous_5897060865429524: I like how the government spins this as a “new plan”. It’s the same old plan. Except, they are doing less of it because there are apparently not enough resources. This is like saying if I remove one wheel from my old car, I would have a “new car”.

And how they say they “came up” with a new plan and are “trying a new approach”. It’s as if this was the result of lots of thinking by the Einsteins in the Health Ministry when in reality, all they did was just decide to do less because they can’t cope.

GajahDuduk: I really don’t understand why there is a lack of testing capacity. The pandemic is more than a year old now.

Did it never occur to anyone at the Health Ministry that it would be good to have ample testing capacity if cases suddenly increased?

Malaysia has homegrown companies producing PCR tests. How can we not have enough testing capacity? So that’s the cause of our MCO? The ministry’s failure to organise sufficient testing capacity? How inept can they be?

Dr Raman: Didn’t I ask yesterday whether anybody believes the DG anymore? Now he is telling us one thing and issuing different instructions internally. He is playing with the lives and safety of millions of citizens and residents.

It’s good that Malaysiakini scooped it out. Only then he admits. Now everybody has to “kita jaga kita” in the true sense. The authorities have not only abandoned us but are lying to us now.

On testing, I have written about sampling and population in my opinion piece on Dec 31. Now only the DG is talking about doing sample testing.

I guess earlier it was deliberately to show the numbers to suit them. Just before emergency, the numbers are breaking previous records!

I have also said to accept the facilities offered by the private sector who have been crying out for the past one year. Will the government ever listen?

Anonymous_ow: @Dr Raman, many people of your calibre and standing find it appalling.

Forty-six medical professionals have publicly called for new policies, the Malaysian Medical Association, medical academies; members of the Malaysian Medical Council, a former deputy DG at the ministry are all looking aghast at what Noor Hisham is doing. But he still holds his job?

What does it take to hold him to account? Is there no moral or professional pressure that can be called on to ask Noor Hisham to step down?

GreenFalcon7476: The virus is here to stay, just like influenza and dengue. So hospitals should treat only the sick. This is the long-term plan. After all, only 20 percent are symptomatic.

Let the remaining 80 percent carry on with their lives. Later, when the vaccine is freely available, the concerned can get themselves vaccinated, just like influenza. So I agree with the DG’s plan.

RedPanther8145: @GreenFalcon7476, can dengue spread from one person to another? If the disease can be addressed much earlier with the MCO and emergency, why wait for the vaccine?

Brahminy Kite: I thought the prime minister said the main purpose of having an emergency is to enable the government to combat the disease better which means that the government should be gearing up to fight the disease.

But the DG seems to be having a gearing down rather than a gearing up, and plan to counter the disease by not testing close contacts. What is going on?

New Year: From the very beginning, when Covid-19 figures were low and manageable, they still could not control the spread of the virus. How can they succeed now?

We still have millions of unregistered foreigners moving around. Thanks to the traitors within the nation who allowed them in due to a fistful of ringgit. Then there are the uncountables that cross our borders daily using the jungle routes.

Now we have two viruses running freely, ravaging the nation – corruption and Covid-19.

“Kita jaga kita” is the right slogan for all the people. The politicians have failed us. The DG and Health Ministry have failed us. Now, whatever policy they can think of is too late.

I pray that the virus will leave this nation as it came and pray that the damage can be contained.

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These comments are compiled to reflect the views of Malaysiakini subscribers on matters of public interest. Malaysiakini does not intend to represent these views as fact.

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