Health Ministry apologises for hasty dismissal of crowds at Shah Alam Covid-19 assessment centre

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The Health Ministry today affirmed the confusion it had caused yesterday with its pictures of the Stadium Malawati Covid-19 Assessment Centre in Shah Alam, Selangor yesterday.

The ministry apologised for the confusion and explained the situation in the three pictures it shared that quickly went viral online, resulting in public condemnation.

In a statement on its Facebook page, the ministry affirmed that all three pictures were taken of the same centre yesterday but explained that they were shot at different times.

The first picture showed a calm and controlled scene with people observing the required physical distance.

A second photo showed more people entering the stadium.

The last picture showed a much bigger number of people filling up the plastic chairs arranged on the ground floor of the indoor stadium. However, the bleachers on the upper floor appeared unoccupied, from what could be seen.

“In the morning, the situation was controlled and quiet. However, the crowds started growing from noon with the presence of Covid-19 positive cases for further evaluation,” the ministry explained.

It said the majority of Covid-19 patients on that day were Category 1 and 2 and as such, it had advised those who had tested positive to present themselves at Stadim Malawati in the morning to avoid building up a crowd.

It said the evaluation process takes some time.

“We apologise for any confusion that resulted in public misunderstanding, especially among the health frontliners there.” the ministry said, ending its clarification.

The ministry came under flak yesterday when it responded to public outcry on Twitter about the large crowds seen at the Stadium Melawati assessment centre.

Facebook

At that time, it denied allegations that there were over 2,000 people awaiting their turn and posted the first picture of the relatively empty stadium.

On Twitter, it cited the Selangor Health Department as saying the patients that turned up for their assessment at Stadium Malawati had been attended to and were only waiting to be warded.

However, it subsequently removed the Twitter posts last night without an explanation, triggering further speculation.

Many internet users expressed disbelief at the ministry’s initial response.

A ministry spokesman was later reported to have said the tweets were removed as it contained incorrect information from the Selangor Health Department concerning the photos and dates.

Nonetheless, the spokesman insisted that fewer than 1,500 people had shown up at Stadium Malawati, rather than over 2,000 as alleged online. – MMO