Guan Eng: Testing only those with symptoms will not help contain Covid-19 outbreak

Bagan MP Lim Guan Eng demanded to know what had happened to the RM17 billion Covid-19 fund approved in the 2021 Budget if it was not used for the full and comprehensive implementation of the 3Ts. — Picture by Firdaus Latif
Bagan MP Lim Guan Eng demanded to know what had happened to the RM17 billion Covid-19 fund approved in the 2021 Budget if it was not used for the full and comprehensive implementation of the 3Ts. — Picture by Firdaus Latif

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KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 15 — DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng today warned that more Malaysians will be infected with Covid-19 and the number of deaths will increase if the Health Ministry abandons the implementation of testing, tracing and treatment (3T).

The Bagan MP demanded to know what had happened to the RM17 billion Covid-19 fund approved in the 2021 Budget if it was not used for the full and comprehensive implementation of the 3Ts.

“Sufficient resources, whether in terms of manpower and equipment, should have already been made available to our frontliners to implement the 3Ts of testing, tracing and treatment, which is most effective in containing the spread of Covid-19,” he said in a statement today.

He blamed Cabinet ministers for not being able to provide full support to the frontliners.

“The dangers of not conducting a full screening test on all close contacts and asymptomatic individuals is very real, because asymptomatic patients can become symptomatic later and spread the virus,” he said.

He pointed out that scientists in the United States have discovered that transmission from asymptomatic individuals was estimated to account for 59 per cent of all Covid-19 transmissions.

“This can be seen in the Penang General Hospital with an increasing number of elderly Covid-19 patients, infected by their younger family members some who were asymptomatic,” he added.

Lim was referring to Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah's confirmation that screening tests will no longer be conducted on every individual identified as close contacts to Covid-19 positive patients.

Dr Noor Hisham said only those who show symptoms will be tested while in terms of contact tracing involving a cluster, only a number of samples would be taken.

The Health Ministry circular states that it would suffice to take 20 samples if the number of exposed individuals in the cluster is less than 50. If the number exceeds 50, then it would suffice to take 30 samples, or 10 per cent, whichever is lower.

“This ‘relaxation’ of the previous full screening tests involving all asymptomatic close contacts, is the result of our healthcare system unable to cope with the surge in the number of Covid-19 patients,” Lim said.

He said the question of what happened to the RM17 billion Covid-19 fund could have been raised in Parliament but the session was suspended.

“That is why the suspension must be revoked and Parliament convened immediately, to end such incompetence and inefficiency and instead provide much needed resources and support to our frontliners,” he said.

He demanded that the government reveal what had happened to the fund and how much of it had been utilised.

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