KUALA LUMPUR, April 9 – Former deputy defence minister Liew Chin Tong has urged the Ministry of Health (MOH) to continue releasing Covid-19 testing data that has not been published since Sunday.
“In a crisis, being candid and transparent is the key to winning trust among the people. It is a concern that @KKMPutrajaya is releasing less information lately,” he said in a Twitter post.
“One very important piece of info is the pending cases. We are also no longer able to tell the total no. of cases.”
Liew posted images of MOH’s daily announcements on Covid-19 cases, where he compared the existence of data on influenza-like-illness (ILI)/ severe acute respiratory infection (SARI) on April 2 and the lack thereof on April 7.
“Further, information about the percentage of positive cases among ILI/SARI (that traces community transmission) is also no longer available on @KKMPutrajaya website for yesterday’s situation,” the senator added.
“The no. of pending cases and other data indicates the capability of our authorities to test, trace and track, and isolate – the most important elements in the global fight against Covid-19. We hope @KKMPutrajaya will resume the provision of these info in its release this evening.
MOH last shared its Covid-19 testing data with the public on April 5, where out of 51,937 people tested as of that date, 3,663 were positive, 39,877 were negative, and 8,398 were pending.
Experts have claimed that Malaysia is not testing enough for coronavirus, highlighting the huge number of pending test results that show daily official case figures may not be real-time infections.
Paediatrician Dr Amar-Singh HSS previously said that except for one outstanding day on March 27, Malaysia’s coronavirus testing availability was only between 1,500 and 3,500 tests a day, as he claimed that daily official reports on positive tests were a poor indicator of the epidemic in Malaysia.
University Malaya epidemiologist Dr Awang Bulgiba Awang Mahmud also told CodeBlue recently that it was difficult to model the Covid-19 epidemic in Malaysia without good data, like information on dates of when Covid-19 tests are run and dates of their returning results.
Health director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah clarified the matter on Tuesday, saying that the country is currently conducting over 9,000 coronavirus tests a day.
Liew further suggested today that the government look at five major issues to be solved after the nationwide Movement Control Order (MCO) is scheduled to end next Tuesday.
In a three-minute video on Facebook, he listed mass testing; securing hospitals and frontliners; providing sufficient masks, sanitisers and disinfectants; social distancing; and maintaining supply chain of essentials as the main areas the government should focus on.
The DAP political education director said that mass testing during MCO must be done “so that we know who is our carrier and we can actually trace, track and isolate.”
He also spoke on protecting frontliners, saying that their safety and health must be ensured before the MCO is lifted.
“There is a need to ensure that people can buy masks, that there are enough sanitisers in the market, there are enough surface disinfectants in the market; so that the public can buy.”
He also pointed out the government must communicate with factories, schools, and offices on how to do social distancing after April 14.
“And finally, we must ensure that we don’t break the supply chain for food and other essentials. We must ensure that logistics is not broken. We must ensure that there are food and the supply is sufficient,” he added.