Chong: Shortcomings of Covid-19 testing centre poses danger to public

Chong Chieng Jen

KUCHING, Sept 3: The shortcomings of using a basketball court stadium as a Covid-19 testing centre risks exposing the public to the virus, said Democratic Action Party (DAP) Sarawak chairman Chong Chieng Jen.

Chong, in a statement today, said the lack of a drive-through swab test at the Covid-19 testing centre at the 7th Mile Basketball Court Stadium due to space constraints, exposes the public to infection while waiting for their tests.

According to him, during his visit to the centre today, one of the individuals he met said that he started queuing at about 6.30 in the morning, and only had his test done at about 9.00am, which is approximately a two-hour process.

“It was reported by Dr Sim Kui Hian in the press that the Delta variant only takes a few minutes of close contact to spread. If this is so, these test centres are potential places for the spread of the Delta variant,” said in a statement today.

Chong further pointed out that the centre also has insufficient medical staff, and without any officer from the Ministry of Health (MOH) in the position to issue the quarantine orders for those tested positive or those in Category A close contacts who need to be quarantined.

He explained that those who were required to be quarantined were asked to go to Kuching South City Council (MBKS) Civic Centre to collect their quarantine wrist bands and to receive their formal quarantine orders.

“It makes absolutely no sense to require the people to go to two places, one for the swab test and another for the quarantine order. This will only facilitate the spread of the Covid virus, instead of containing it,” he added.

Apart from that, he said insufficient carparks in the compound is causing vehicles to be parked along the road outside the stadium compound, which posed danger to the passing-by vehicles.

“Today, when I visited the centre, there were about 100 plus people queuing and waiting to be tested.

“If the number increases further, both sides of the road outside the Stadium were be packed with cars, which will make it very difficult for vehicles to pass by each other,” he said.

Chong suggested that a better alternative for a Covid-19 testing centre in the vicinity of 7th Mile area will be the Kuching International Airport (KIA) as it has a huge existing carpark, multi-lane roads to accommodate vehicles waiting by the road side for drive-through testing, which is under-utilised given the reduction of inbound and outbound flights.

Furthermore, he asserted that the government should also increase its manpower and deploy a medical officer holding the necessary position to issue the quarantine order at the test centre. — DayakDaily