9th July 2021
Free and subsided self-test kits should be provided to all Malaysians for the purpose of COVID-19 screening
Despite imposing a full MCO for more than 1 month and EMCO for nearly a week, bringing down cases to below 4,000 seems to be an uphill task. Not only did we report 8,868 new COVID-19 cases yesterday, the positive rate for the past 4 days were as high as 9.67%, 9.38%, 8,21%, and 9.37%.
The current method of screening for COVID-19 will need to be reassessed and a self-testing method must be introduced to help solve the situation.
Currently, we are using RT-PCR, rapid antigen and antibody kits for testing. These tests can only be done by healthcare practitioners or laboratories. The cost of these tests is very high ranging from RM70 to RM400.
Many Malaysians are suffering economically due to the pandemic, not all can afford this type of test. Meanwhile, healthcare professionals, labs and hospitals are making huge profits from Covid tests alone.
Mass screening will help to identify positive cases and action can be taken to reduce the wide spread of infection. Many are either walking around with or without symptoms because they have not undergone testing, mainly due to costs in the private sector and crowds in the public sector. They infect many before they are even identified as Covid-19 positive.
A proven home self-test is now available using saliva and this could be a good option to introduce for home use at an affordable price. The government should control the price and allow Malaysians to do home tests.
This way, positive cases can undergo self-quarantine and be admitted to the hospital if serious. The current MySejahtera app can be used for reporting. The spread of the virus can then be significantly reduced.
The suggested price for a home test kit should not be more than RM15. Free kits can be provided to the B40 group and below.
EMCO is also not the answer as it will cripple the economy. The government should explore this option and make these test kits available ASAP.
Teo Nie Ching
MP for Kulai