MOH’s Foreign Worker Testing Targets Red Zones

Mass testing is not a practical approach as coronavirus lives in the community, says the Health DG.

KUALA LUMPUR, May 14 — The Ministry of Health (MOH) reaffirmed that it will not screen all migrant workers for Covid-19, but only construction labourers in Kuala Lumpur and Selangor.

The MOH identified eight targeted groups thus far, which are the Sri Petaling tabligh cluster, tahfiz school cluster, areas under Enhanced Movement Control Order (EMCO), other identified clusters, the elderly population, foreign workers at construction sites in Covid-19 red zones, markets, health care workers, and Malaysians returning from overseas who are put under mandatory quarantine.

“’Foreign workers now is one of our target groups, but we only target them in the red zones, for example, KL (Kuala Lumpur) and Selangor, so we will screen them,” said Health director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah at a press conference today, referring to areas with more than 40 Covid-19 cases.

He added that even though the MOH has the testing capacity, mass testing raises the question of how often people should get tested for the coronavirus, stating that such an approach would not be practical.

“The capacity that we have will focus into these areas, these eight targeted groups, rather than to test everyone,” said Dr Noor Hisham.

“If you test everyone and then you isolate them, that is fine, but they are still exposed to the community and the virus is in the community. So, that is the next question, how often do you want to test them?” he explained.

MOH’s Covid-19 daily testing capacity is at 26,673, and 25,106 samples were run yesterday, which was at 94 per cent of maximum capacity. Currently, 45 laboratories run these tests.

“What is more important is that we have the capacity to test. We are using the opportunity from our testing capacity to do targeted testing on targeted groups.

“High impact, reasonably cost, and good outcome. This is our strategy,” explained Dr Noor Hisham.

The Social Security Organisation (Socso) announced that their Covid-19 screening programme (PSP) will focus on migrant workers in the construction and security sectors in Kuala Lumpur and Selangor effective today.

Socso’s Prihatin Screening Programme (PSP) is for employers or workers who have registered with Socso under the Employee’s Social Security Act 1969 (Act 4).

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