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Johor State Government must heed Health DG’s advice and conduct Covid-19 mass testing

Joint statement by MP for Kulai, Teo Nie Ching with MP for Bakri, Yeo Bee Yin on 31 May 2021:

Johor State Government should heed the advice of the Health DG to conduct mass Covid-19 testing as the positive rate in Johor was as high as 9%

 

The Director-General of Health Dr. Noor Hisham Abdullah announced yesterday that the Ministry of Health planned to increase Covid-19 testing in the field with rapid RTK-Ag during the total lockdown, and he also urged all state governments, MPs and ADUNs to help with testing. 

During the discussion between the Chief Minister of Johor, MPs and Aduns on last Thursday, we were told that: 

 
  1. 66,173 tests were conducted between April 20 to May 3, out of which 3,486 were positive, i.e. 5.2%; and 
  2. 70,645 tests were conducted between May 4 to May 17, out of which 6,932 were positive, i.e. 9.8%.
 
CodeBlue article screenshot on importance of mass testing.
 

Currently, Johor contributes around 8.5% of the total new cases, standing third after Klang Valley and Sarawak. But the high positive rates indicate how inadequately testing was done in Johor. Fewer tests are done in Johor, hence fewer infections are detected. In other words, the current Covid-19 situation in Johor is underrated. 

Therefore, we concur with the DG of Health and would like to urge the Johor State Government to emulate Selangor State Government and start doing mass testing.

 

As a start, the Johor State Government should do 1,500 tests for each state assembly seat area totalling up to 84,000 tests. Mass testing conducted and sponsored by the state government fulfils the following objectives:

 

1. Shows the population of Johor that the state government is proactive in playing its role to fight this pandemic, similar to what the Selangor State Government is doing in its mass testing effort.

 

2. Allows the Johor State Government to capture more updated data on the Covid-19 pandemic (to complement that is being collected but not shared by the Federal Government via MySejahtera).

 

3. Allows the ADUNs and also MPs to mobilise their volunteers and resources to reach out to their voters and residents.

 

Positivity rate which is consistently above the 5% benchmark set by the World Health Organization warrants more testing. It also suggests higher transmission and that there are likely more people with Covid-19 in the community who haven’t been tested yet. Johor State Government should play its role during this full MCO to curb the pandemic immediately. 

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