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KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 23: The Health Ministry (MoH) is studying the possibility of providing rebates for individuals who reported their Covid-19 swab test results obtained via Covid-19 self-testing kits even though they tested negative in order to reflect a more accurate positivity rate of the Covid-19 infection in the country.
Its Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said he supported the proposal raised by Bandar Kuching MP Dr Kelvin Yii Lee Wuen to provide incentives for those who reported their Covid-19 swab test results obtained via self-testing kits although the results are negative.
“With regards to the proposal raised by Bandar Kuching, this is a serious matter.
“The tendency for those who reported self-testing kit results were those testing positive.
“But for negative cases, many did not report (to MoH).
“That’s why there’s a problem in our denominator as we are unsure how many undergo the testing.
“Nonetheless at present, we have added the (negative test results) screenings from RT-PCR, RTK-Antigen and RTK Antigen self-testing kits.
“As we have added all the swab test results from Sept 21 for RT-PCR, RTK-Antigen and RTK Antigen self-testing kits, the positivity rate is 9.95 per cent,” he said in his ministerial winding-up speech at Parliament here today.
Khairy admitted that incentivising the public to report Covid-19 swab test results obtained via self-testing kits could be the best approach to get a more accurate picture of the Covid-19 situation in Malaysia.
Earlier, Dr Yii called on the government to provide incentives for those who purchased the Covid-19 self-testing kits to report their results to the Health Ministry.
He proposed that the government implements a “cash-back” or rebate system by subsiding the purchase of the Covid-19 self-testing kit to incentivise those who do not have a smartphone or access to the MySejahtera app, especially those living in rural areas, to do self-testing for Covid-19.
In terms of Covid-19 vaccination, Khairy said MoH is looking at the broadest possible coverage for the entire Malaysian population.
He said it is no longer applicable to use the term ‘herd immunity’ as the Covid-19 Delta variant has made it irrelevant.
He explained that before the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme was rolled out, the government used a formula to calculate the level of inoculation needed for ‘herd immunity’ which was between 70 and 80 per cent of the country’s population.
“Delta (variant) has basically thrown out the herd immunity calculation.
“It is difficult to say when we are going to achieve herd immunity,” he said.
Khairy, who is also the Rembau MP was responding to Pontian MP Datuk Seri Ahmad Maslan who asked why Malaysia’s Covid-19 death rate remained high even though 80 per cent of the population was inoculated. — DayakDaily