KUALA LUMPUR, April 2 — Selangor’s Covid-19 taskforce today urged the Ministry of Health (MOH) to share data on the coronavirus outbreak, which has hit Selangor hardest, to help it make data-driven decisions.
The Selangor Task Force For Covid-19 (STFC), led by former Health Minister Dzulkefly Ahmad, said the state government has set up an analytical platform powered by Big Data Analytics and Machine Intelligence so that it can make solid recommendations amid the swiftly changing epidemic of the unknown coronavirus.
“It is also to enable STFC members not only to focus on the Covid-19 case burden, but also to consider population burdens, marginalised populations such as single mothers, senior citizens, low-income citizens, and socioeconomic factors in formulating priority planning and action plans,” Dzulkefly said in a statement.
Dzulkefly further said that the data being requested do not include personal and confidential information safeguarded under the law.
“STFC expects data sharing from MOH to enable us to complete our analytical development. This data does not mean patient identity, which must remain confidential under the Medical Act. Analytical data will help drive disease control, micro-community screening, as well as mobilise aid and welfare channels, including maintaining the mental health of the people of Selangor,” he said.
Despite the decrease in daily cases in Selangor, the state still records the highest number of Covid-19 patients. Apart from that, four districts in the state are also classified as hotspots with more than 40 cases, including Petaling, Hulu Langat, Klang and Gombak districts.
“Recent statistics that record 142 new cases as of April 1, 2020 have raised the number of Covid-19 positive cases in Malaysia to 2,908 cases with a cumulative total COVID-19 death rate in Malaysia of 45 cases.
“According to this report, the State of Selangor has recorded a decrease in two consecutive cases from 60 new cases on March 30, 2020, to 32 new cases on March 31, 2020, while on April 1, 2020, 22 new cases have been reported. This brings the total number of Covid-19 positive cases in Selangor to 726 as of April 1, 2020,” Dzulkefly added.
“STFC takes into account the current state of Covid-19 disease in Selangor as it ranks highest in the Covid-19 positive case chart. These statistics are in line with the Selangor population density factor, which represents over 20 per cent of the Malaysian population.”
To combat this, STFC has developed terms of references for its members. Among the term of references are educating its people on the virus and social distancing, developing guidelines for the use and implementation of various parties; advising all religious authorities in terms of health input in dealing with the spread of the SARS CoV-2 virus in places of worship; and developing the capabilities of the State Government in the use of ‘Big Data Analytics’ and ‘Machine Learning’ to guide implementation activities such as ‘community filtering’, ‘close tracking’ or ‘contact tracing’, to be more focused and targeted, during the Movement Control Order (MCO) or Enhanced Movement Control Order (EMCO) .
Health director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah, at a press conference yesterday, however, remained reserved about sharing data on the coronavirus epidemic.
“We’d love to share some of the information, but we realize some of the information, like clinical data, have to look into what aspect of the data we can share. So like public health data not much of an issue, but personal data, in terms of your history, that may have some issue,” he said.
“I think what is important is that we welcome all parties working together as one with MOH, more so in crisis that brought the whole nation coming together. For the first time in history, I think we implemented Act 342 (Prevention and Control of Diseases Act 1988), we embrace every sector is a health sector. Today we see in reality how every sector, every ministry, everyone comes together for a common cause.”