Teo Nie Ching: Emergency proving ‘pointless’ in stopping Covid-19 spread

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Kulai MP Teo Nie Ching has called on the Perikatan Nasional government of Muhyiddin Yassin to change its strategy to a proactive one, saying that having more than 5,000 new Covid-19 cases for three consecutive days is proof that the emergency declaration was pointless.

“It should be very obvious by now that declaring emergency does not stop Covid-19 cases from increasing. In fact, it is proving to be quite pointless.

“What needs to be done, now and today, is to start being proactive and not reactive. The Health Ministry and the National Security Council chaired by the prime minister need to drastically improvise on contact tracing methods in terms of speed and urgency as more people are carrying the virus now.

“Lack of efficiency in this area will lead to the spreading of the virus to a point where we would not be able to control it. By then, it would be too late and the Malaysian people’s effort and discipline during the first MCO will all be in vain,” Teo said in a joint statement with general practitioner Dr Goh Aik Ping today.

Muhyiddin declared a state of emergency on Jan 12, claiming his government needed more powers to effectively combat the worsening Covid-19 pandemic.

The first month of 2021 recorded 289 deaths due to Covid-19, or approximately 9.3 deaths a day. The cumulative death toll now stands at 760 from a total of 214,959 cases.

The number of Covid-19 related deaths in January is 2.6 times higher than what was reported in November and December 2020 (111 each month respectively) when the pandemic peaked in Sabah.

Suggestions to control spread of virus

In January, the Klang Valley region (Selangor, Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya) recorded 46.4 percent of Covid-19 related deaths, followed by Sabah (20.4 percent) and Johor (11.1 percent).

In response, Teo and Goh made the following suggestions:

  1. Deploy the armed forces to help with contact tracing and check compliance with home surveillance order by calls and regular messaging;
  2. To authorise general practitioners (GPs) in the private sector to issue quarantine order/home surveillance order (HSO). GPs need to be roped in to treat and follow up with Covid-19 patients displaying mild symptoms;
  3. Develop a standard nationwide database and system, which allows all GPs to regularly update patient data, health conditions, quarantine status and discharge matter into the system. Failure to report should result in penalties;
  4. Execute and implement extensive Covid-19 screening using RTK-Antigen for those with symptoms, those living in vulnerable areas, vulnerable age groups, as well as those with close contacts with positive cases. This must be followed with an effective home quarantine enforcement;
  5. Provide immediate treatment for patients with mild symptoms if RTK-Antigen shows a positive result, and reconfirm this with PCR test;
  6. All close contacts must be presumed as positive until proven otherwise. They must undergo immediate home quarantine and undergo Covid-19 screening test;
  7. Conduct a strict selection of effective Covid-19 vaccines; accelerate the process of national immunisation and inform the public from time to time as to the progress as the public has a right to this information; and
  8. Ensure all Covid-19 Assessment Centres (CAC) operate seven days a week during the pandemic and improve the CAC and PKD 24 hours hotline management to ensure assistance and information are easily accessible. – Malaysiakini