Dr Yii warns ‘severe undertesting’ may be falsely giving lower Covid-19 count in Sarawak

Dr Kelvin Yii

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KUCHING, May 3: The number of Covid-19 cases in Sarawak may be higher and even more widespread in the community than it seems due to the State’s severe undertesting capacity, asserts Bandar Kuching MP Dr Kelvin Yii.

He said based on known data dated yesterday (May 2), 4,050 tests were done and of these, 587 were positive.

“This means the positive rate yesterday is 14.49 per cent which is almost triple the recommended rate of below five per cent by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

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

“Apart from that, the rate of infection per 100,000 population in Sarawak is also one of highest in the nation. If we observe the positive cases in the State, there is still a high percentage of sporadic cases or cases that are not linked to known existing clusters,” he said in a statement today.

Following that, Dr Yii urged the Ministry of Health (MOH) and Sarawak Disaster Management Committee (SDMC) to ramp up the State’s testing capacity in order to be able to detect cases immediately, initiate containment of cases in an area and subsequently, give a better picture of the Covid-19 situation.

With such data in hand, he also urged the authorities to be transparent when deciding whether to impose another Movement Control Order (MCO) or otherwise.

Dr Yii said while he understood the need to not create panic among the public, he nevertheless advised SDMC to be transparent with its directives instead of persisting with the narrative that everything is under control.

“While there are talks of an impending MCO, such decision must be studied properly and based on scientific parameters.

“Based on the data that is known including our infection rate, positive rate and even ICU beds capacity, we may need some form of circuit-breaker in certain districts, but maybe not the whole Sarawak.

“To protect the other districts, strict inter-district and inter-zone travel restrictions should be in place,” he added.

In the meantime, Dr Yii expressed strong disagreement with the ‘exemption’ given by SDMC on selective implementation of the Ramadan bazaars and night markets even in high-risk areas.

“While I fully understand the economic implication of it, but ‘double standard’ implementation of agreed and fixed standard operating procedures (SOPs) was what caused the spike of cases in Sarawak in the first place,” he emphasised. — DayakDaily