Tiong: 120 free swab tests per day for Bintulu lorry drivers? Are there so many of them?

Caption: Tiong relaying his message to the lorry associations on their request for 120 free swab tests per day in a recorded video.

By Ling Hui

KUCHING, June 17: The requests of several parties including lorry associations to increase free Covid-19 swab test quotas for transport and logistics companies per day should be made realistically.

Bintulu MP Dato Sri Tiong King Sing said their proposal for the Bintulu Health Department to provide 120 free tests per day instead of currently free swab tests of 50 raised doubts of whether there are as many lorry drivers in Bintulu.

“Several parties including lorry associations have requested the Health Department to greatly increase the 50 free tests allocated daily to 120 people per day, which would mean nearly 1,000 appointments per week.

“This begs the question: Does Bintulu really have that many lorry drivers,” he said in a social media post yesterday (June 16).

Acknowledging that the compulsory standard operating procedure (SOP) for logistics vehicle drivers traveling in and out of Bintulu to undergo Covid-19 swab tests every week could be costly to the companies, he however, pointed out such requests must be based on actual situations for the Health Department to make serious considerations.

Tiong also pointed out that, though inconvenient, the SOP is to protect the lives and health of all employees in Bintulu as early detection of positive cases can help stop the transmission in a company.

He said as many as 90 per cent of the drivers who were diagnosed with the Coronavirus in Bintulu were asymptomatic during their applications for entry and exit permits.

“Lorry drivers are one of the high-risk groups in the pandemic. Yesterday alone (June 15), four drivers from different companies were confirmed positive. In the most serious case, nearly 12 drivers from the same company were tested positive.

“Therefore, the authorities cannot reduce testing in the transport and logistics sector to ensure they can detect the cases (before any widespread),” he added. — DayakDaily