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By Lian Cheng
KUCHING, Jan 20: As many as 23 people who have tested positive for Covid-19 in public screenings in Sibu are not contactable by the health authorities.
In a social media post, Local Government and Housing Minister Datuk Seri Dr Sim Kui Hian also questioned the rationale of these individuals who did not leave behind valid contact details.
“Understand 23 postiive patients from Sibu from the PCR screening can’t be contacted (for various reasons),” said Dr Sim.
Despite the fact that it is the duty of the health authorities to keep patient confidentiality, Dr Sim did not discount the possibility of publishing the names of these individuals out of public health concerns as well as to protect these individuals and their families.
“Though so far, we have been protecting the identity of individual at all cost but we may be forced to publish the name of the individuals in the interest of safety of public (including themselves so they are not at risk of new phenomenon in West Malaysia — ‘Brought in Dead’, (happening to) their families and friends),” said Dr Sim.
Health Ministry director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah had warned in October last year that almost a third of Covid-19 fatalities nationwide during the third wave were brought to the hospital dead.
He was quoted saying that out of the 110 deaths since the end of September, 35 were “brought in dead”. All these cases were from Sabah.
Dr Sim published the statement on his social media page on Jan 19 evening. This morning, however, Local Government and Housing Assistant Minister Dr Annuar Rapaee called for a press conference in Sibu, explaining that as of 12.45 pm today (Jan 20, 2021) all 23 were accounted for. — DayakDaily