Kelvin Yii: Health DG justifying Parliament closure with wrong science

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Director-General of health Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah is using unnecessary scientific parameters to justify closing Parliament, Bandar Kuching MP Dr Kelvin Yii said.

Yii, who is a medical doctor and the chair of the parliamentary select committee on health, said the “CT level” cited by Noor Hisham to justify closing Parliament for two weeks is not a metric for public health decision-making.

“It is a virology tool rather than a metric to make decisions on how long a location must be closed,” said Yii in a statement today.

TMI

“As long as the patient is properly isolated, and all other SOPs are properly adhered to, the source of transmission is isolated thus mode of transmission is cut. There is no logically explanation why the Parliament cannot continue to function, especially four days after the detected cases.”

Noor Hisham in a statement last night spoke about the cycle threshold, or CT value, which is used to assess the viral load in a sample.

He said samples of several positive cases detected in Parliament last week showed a low CT value, which meant the cases had a high viral load and thus a greater risk of virus transmission.

Yii said the Health Ministry had never before been seen to make public health decisions based on the CT value.

“The D-G and MOH must answer when has MOH (started) using the CT value to make public health decisions. Please show us hard data and not just give general statements.”

Yii added that Parliament could have proceeded today with adjustments to the environmental factors that Noor Hisham said he was concerned about.

For one, ventilation in Parliament could have been improved.

“There isn’t a need to close down the whole Parliament for two weeks just to deal with 0.9% of positive cases in Parliament,” said Yii.

“The Ideal Convention Centre vaccination centre in Shah Alam closed only for a day for sanitisation after 200 plus Covid cases were detected.

“In many essential service facilities also deal with daily positive cases but yet after all necessary SOPs are adhered to, their functions are not drastically disrupted.

“Why can’t this be done in Parliament? Science and public health must be apolitical.”

Yii added the government could have taken advantage of the Parliament sitting to assure the people that its national recovery plan to reopen economic sectors and workplaces was effective.

“Instead, the shutdown of Parliament has exemplified incompetency and decision-making that is not science-based.”

The Dewan Rakyat sitting on Thursday was adjourned several times for the MPs and parliament staff to be screened out after people in the building were found to be infected following a screening that was conducted before the sitting began on July 26.

The House was finally adjourned to today for the government to explain the cancelling of emergency ordinances. But on Saturday, Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin announced the sitting was postponed, citing the risk of Covid-19 transmission. – TMI