Tony Pua: Covid-19 cases not dropping, tests are

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“Slight decline” due to fewer Covid-19 tests being conducted while the positivity rate still high.

The Health Ministry should not make unscientific assertions that daily Covid-19 infections have dropped to lull Malaysians into a false sense of security, Tony Pua said today.

“I was stunned when I saw a Facebook post by the Ministry of Health (MoH) which proudly announced that the number of Covid-19 positive cases is on a slight declining trend since July 15, 2021,” the Damansara MP said in a statement.

New cases total 13,215 on July 15, dropping to 12,541 on July 16, 12,528 on July 17, 10,710 on July 18, 10,972 on July 19, 12,366 on July 20, and 11,985 on July 21.

The infectivity rate (Rt) also showed a downward trend from 1.20 on July 15 to 1.09 on July 21.

“To a layman, the number of positive cases does look like it is trending slightly lower.

“But the Ministry of Health is not any layperson, it is the principal institution of science and integrity which tens of millions of Malaysians rely on to protect their health and wellbeing.

Seth Akmal/TMI

“It is not supposed to provide Malaysians with a false sense of security with unscientific assertions,” Pua said.

Yesterday saw new cases rise again, to 13,034.

“The ‘wrongness’ of the MoH Facebook assertion is laid bare with yesterday’s report of 13,034 positive cases from 128,279 tests carried out, giving a positivity rate of 10.16%.”

Pua pointed out that the “slight decline” was due to fewer Covid-19 tests being conducted while the positivity rate was still high.

The positivity rate has consistently remained above the 5% threshold recommended by the World Health Organization. It currently hovers around 12%.

“There was no decline in the positivity rate at all. On the contrary, the positivity rate showed a significant increase as the number of tests were reduced.”

Pua has been pushing the government to do more targeted testing.

“The (ministry’s) Facebook post…puts to question the credibility and competency of its leadership, in particular, Health Minister Dr Adham Baba.

“It is no wonder that the Health Ministry has failed to plan for contingencies and eventualities which have resulted in the massive overcrowding and under-capacity at public hospitals today,” Pua said.

Pua hinted the ministry could have purposely reduced Covid-19 tests to lower daily cases.

“Either the minister believes that with reduced tests, the number of positive cases will indeed come down or he is just so obtuse that he needs to be immediately replaced.”

Anyone else will do, he said, because no one can be “any less competent”.