KUALA LUMPUR, May 15 — Tags will not be given to workers after getting tested for Covid-19 as employers will be informed through letters, the Ministry of Health (MOH) said today.
Health director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah stressed that coronavirus test results only indicate one’s condition at the time of screening.
“If the worker is exposed to the virus next week, or two weeks after the screening, there is a tendency for them to get infected by the virus. So, the test result is only applicable at that point of time,” Dr Noor Hisham told a press conference.
He also stated MOH’s work with the Department of Islamic Development Malaysia (Jakim) to identify and encourage tahfiz schools to come forward for Covid-19 screening, as health authorities visit these schools for testing. The Health DG said yesterday that over 1,000 private madrasah have yet to step forward for testing.
To date, 13,288 samples have been tested from 370 tahfiz schools and madrasah, or 67.4 per cent from 19,715 students, teachers, and staff. Nearly 5 per cent, or 651 people, have tested positive for the coronavirus. The vast majority at 85.3 per cent who tested positive did not show symptoms.
Dr Noor Hisham explained that it takes the body time to present symptoms like fever after getting infected with coronavirus.
“At the initial part, the viral load may not be high. The issue is whether asymptomatic can transmit infection,” he said.
“It has been said two to three days before you get symptoms, the virus load is much higher. Then there’s a risk you can spread infection.”
The Health DG also clarified that the statistics on tahfiz and madrasah clusters are not meant to stigmatise anyone, but merely to protect everyone from transmitting the virus.
Besides that, he emphasised the importance of having a closed-door Hari Raya.
“Imposing a home curfew will not allow any visitors to home and this will protect the family and community from being exposed to virus,” Dr Noor Hisham said, stressing that the government’s rule of maximum 20 visitors on the first day of Hari Raya was a “relative number”.
“If it’s 20 in a confined place or small apartment, it’s not feasible,” he said. “The number is relative; just forget about the number”.
Dr Noor Hisham reminded the public to follow the 3Cs and 3Ws:
- Avoid crowded places
- Avoid confined spaces
- Avoid close conversation
- Wash hands with soap and water frequently
- Wear face masks
- Warnings or cautions from MOH like avoiding touch, practicing cough and sneezing etiquette, disinfection activities, staying at home as much as possible, and getting immediate treatment if sick.
He also urged everyone to play their role during this festive season to not put vulnerable groups of people like the elderly and persons with disabilities at risk of getting infected by Covid-19.