Give us concrete plans, not half-baked solutions, Tony Pua tells D-G

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The Health Ministry (MOH) must come up with concrete plans on how to overcome the surge in Covid-19 cases instead of releasing speculative projections, said Tony Pua.

The DAP Damansara lawmaker also accused the director-general of health Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah of coming up with “half-baked” solutions and flimsy excuses to defend the ministry’s performance.

“The health D-G must stop speaking like his fly-by-night minister and report the facts like a professional. Do not give Malaysians half-baked excuses and speculative projections.

“Instead, give us a proper plan. Like how the MOH will be systematically increasing testing, directly as well as via third parties, what are the targeted positivity rate reductions we want to see as well as other concrete measures the ministry is doing to upgrade and expand our facilities and resources to fight and treat Covid-19,” he said in a statement today.

Yesterday, Noor Hisham said the MOH will replicate Labuan’s Covid-19 vaccination success in the Klang Valley.

He said the higher vaccination rates in Labuan have marked fewer coronavirus cases, including Delta variant ones.

He added that if all conditions remain the same as Labuan, and assuming an average vaccine efficacy of 80%, the number of cases is expected to drop below 1,000 a day by October.

Pua said the MOH’s response to the pandemic shows that it has no regard for the people’s suffering.

“The calamitous scenario clearly proved that the Health Ministry failed to carry out their duties to mitigate the spread of Covid-19 infection, even as the people suffer in silence, losing income and livelihoods hoping to return to some form of normalcy as quickly as possible.”

To curb the spread of the virus, the government has implemented lockdowns whenever the number of daily cases surge. The on-and-off lockdowns, with the most recent one on June 1, however, have failed to successfully bring the number of Covid-19 cases in the country down.

Noor Hisham and deputy prime minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob have both come out to say that the spike in cases is due to increased testing in the enhanced movement-control areas in large parts of Selangor and Kuala Lumpur.

For the past three days, Malaysia has reported a record number of cases well above the 13,000 mark. Yesterday, there were 13,215 fresh infections.

Pua, who is also DAP’s national public secretary, also questioned if the reduced testing done by MOH was an attempt to report lower case numbers by testing less.

“Does the health D-G think that he can get away with half-truths and manipulated statistics to defend his ministry’s performance because Malaysians are gullible and cannot count?”

In the week of May 23 to May 29, an average of 109,601 tests were carried out daily, but in the week of June 6 to June 12, the number of average daily tests carried out dropped by 17.9% to only 89,985.

“The positivity rate between the two weeks showed only a marginal drop from 6.96% to 6.61%.  This means that the overwhelming bulk of the reduced positive cases was a direct result of reduced testing, and not a result of reduced infection,” Pua said.

Testing now has, however, been increased, Noor Hisham said on July 15; 135,444 tests were conducted compared to 98,031 on July 1.

Malaysia’s positivity rate, however, remains high at almost 9%, above the 5% threshold set by the World Health Organisation. The infectivity rate is now at 1.20.

Bernama

Noor Hisham also put the blame on the more contagious Delta variant as the source of the current spike in Covid-19 cases. He said the Delta variant could be transmitted to another person in 15 seconds.

Pua, however, said that there is no data to show that the variants are widespread in the community.

“Is that mere speculation?” he asked.

Malaysia’s Covid-19 caseload currently stands at 880,782. The influx in cases has further strained an already overwhelmed healthcare system. Some hospitals have even converted car parks into field hospitals.

There are 885 cases being treated in the intensive care unit, while 432 patients are on ventilators. – TMI