Cover Story, Current Affairs, National

Malaysia’s Covid-19 positivity rate is too high! The Federal Government MUST conduct mass screenings

Press Statement by DAP Secretary-General and MP for Bagan, Lim Guan Eng in Penang on 24 August 2021:


I am saddened by the record number of 28 deaths in Penang on 23 August. The high Covid-19 basic reproduction number (R0 or R naught) for Penang of 1.14 on 23 August compared to the national RO figure of 1.01 is cause for concern. This high RO number foreshadows the rise of infections for Penang will continue unabated and not hit below 1,000 daily cases for the foreseeable future.

Apart from compliance with preventive SOPs, mass screening tests and vaccination are the only forms of protection available to vulnerable Malaysians, especially those who are not fit and unhealthy.


DAP reiterates our call for mass screenings and accelerated vaccinations that dropped nationally below the daily target of 500,000 doses to 396,578 doses on 23 August 2021.


The government must explain why vaccination has dropped from a high of 531,114 doses on 18 August to less than 400,000 doses now.

Despite a decline in daily infection to 17,236 cases, Malaysia is still stuck in a vicious cycle of community infection with the positivity rate (positive cases out of number of tests conducted) of 14.96% on 23 August, more than three times above the recommended 5% by the World Health Organisation(WHO).

Out of 118,158 tests done, the positivity rate of 14.96% indicates that there is not enough testing done to reduce the number of infections in accordance with WHO’s recommended large scale implementation of the Find, Test, Trace, Isolate and Support plus vaccination (FTTIS+V).

The positivity rate has risen progressively from 13.11% on 17 August, 13.34% on 18 August, 14.06% on 19 August, 14.5% on 20 August and 14.81% on 21 August.


The high positivity rate indicates that the infection rate has shown no signs of receding and is a damning testament of a government that has failed miserably in its goal to contain and eliminate the pandemic.

The mass screening exercise must be expanded to at least 1% of the population or 320,000 tests daily in Malaysia so that infections can be caught early with isolation and treatment. The WHO recommends FTTIS+V as one the preventive measures against mass outbreaks in the future. Herd immunity should be achieved solely through inoculation, not by both infection and inoculation.

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