KUALA LUMPUR, April 28 — Epidemiologist Professor Awang Bulgiba Awang Mahmud cautioned that public apathy and resistance to use the MySejahtera app could cause a deterioration in the awareness of Covid-19 infections in Malaysia.

If that happens, Awang said it would make it harder to manage the disease, The Straits Times reported today.

“There has been so much hype about it being an endemic disease, without really understanding what it means to consider it one,” he told the Singapore daily.

The chairman of the Health Ministry’s Covid-19 Epidemiological Analysis and Strategies Task Force expressed concern that apathy is setting in.

He observed that people may think there is little enforcement of the MySejahtera QR code scanning procedure, lulling the owners of premises into believing they won’t be punished if patrons don’t use the app to check in.

Another reason is the ongoing court case involving the companies linked to the application.

“This has apparently led to calls for people not to use the app, due to fears about their data being used for purposes other than health,” Awang was quoted saying.

But he also said there is a valid argument to drop the use of the app as a mandatory check-in tool.

“Most of the current cases are unlinked now so I think contact tracing is no longer a priority. I suppose this would be a valid point to drop the check-in requirement,” he told the Singapore paper in response to Putrajaya’s announcement yesterday that people no longer need to use MySejahtera to check in at premises from Sunday.

Citing data from Malaysia’s Health Ministry, ST reported that the average daily check-ins at registered premises using the app fell 30.3 per cent, or by 7.4 million, between March 25 and April 9.

In a news conference yesterday, Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said although scanning would no longer be mandatory, premises owners can check their visitors’ health status to verify if they are tested positive for Covid-19, are high-risk individuals or have been issued the home surveillance order.

Khairy also advised the public to turn on their MySJ Trace function to enable contact tracing for Covid-19 infection cases.

The application has been, and still is a key part of the government's effort to assess the spread the of the Covid-19 virus here, with those flouting the scanning rule being penalised with a RM1,000 fine and RM10,000 for premise owners, under Act 342 of the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act 1988.