Cover Story, Current Affairs, National

Expand Covid-19 testing beyond close contact following relaxation of CMCO

Press statement by ADUN for Bukit Gasing, Rajiv Rishyakaran on 7 December 2020:

The Ministry of Health should expand Covid-19 testing beyond close contact with the massive relaxation of CMCO to catch new infections early 

 

With the relaxation of CMCO restrictions, interstate travel is likely to increase a lot, and the risk of Covid-19 spreading further and faster is very real. The Ministry of Health should expand Covid-19 testing beyond close contacts and increase mass testing to ease detecting new infections early to prevent it from spreading further. 

The two groups that I would like to encourage MoH to expand its screening capacity into are:

 
  1. High risk professions
  2. Casual contacts
  3. Anyone with symptoms but no close contact
 
For illustrative purposes.
 

After my recent urging, I’m glad that many private clinics are now roped in to conduct mass Covid-19 testing for foreign workers, with the government supplying the test kits and the clinics providing the clinical service to test. I’ve also demonstrated that Covid-19 test using the rapid test kit (antigen) can be done for RM70 without any subsidy. With the government buying the test kit in bulk and the clinics doing the service in bulk, this price can easily come down to RM50 or less. 

With the mass deployment of Rapid Test Kits (RTK) to a lot of clinics nationwide, it is now more feasible than ever to expand the testing from selected close contacts to a wider group of people. High risk professions such as our beloved front liners and those who are forced to work in spaces that are difficult to social distance, such as markets or ride hailing drivers, should be tested very regularly. 

 

Only the Ministry of Health has the statistics of which professions/sectors are most commonly infected, and by using that data, they should zoom in on those sectors. 

 
Malaysiakini article screenshot on the relaxation of CMCO SOPs.
 

Besides that, anyone who declares to be in any contact ie casual contacts should be given the opportunity for an antigen test. Fear and anxiety among the people is increasing everyday as they receive news that an area that they have been to or place that they live in has someone who has tested positive for the coronavirus.

Since launching the RM70 test, many who have come forward are those who have come into contact with a Covid-19 patient and are testing for their peace of mind and the peace of mind of their loved ones. Take for example the recent outbreak at Uncle Don’s in SS2. Many customers called into my COVID Hotline to register for the RTK-AG testing because MoH did not reach out to them as they did not fulfil MoH’s close contact criteria. 

 
Rajiv promoting his office Covid-19 testing initiative.
 

I myself went for the testing after MBPJ councillor John Leong was tested positive for Covid-19, 8 days after i last met him over a meal. 

Since the beginning of this pandemic, the World Health Organization (WHO) has emphasized the importance of mass testing and named it as the most effective way to prevent further spreading of the virus. With so much medical resources available around the country, utilizing them efficiently may be the first battle we win against the war of the Covid-19 pandemic. The anxiety and worry of the people can be reduced. 

I strongly urge MoH to expand testing beyond close contact and engage private clinics to delegate the workload so that all our healthcare providers are safe and all resources available are used efficiently.

Rajiv Rishyakaran
ADUN for Bukit Gasing

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