KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 18 — MySejahtera, the government’s contact tracing app, has only directly detected 4 per cent of total reported Covid-19 cases in Malaysia.
“As of now, about 4 per cent of total cases were successfully detected directly through health self-evaluation on the MySejahtera application,” Health Minister Dr Adham Baba stated in a written Parliament reply on November 12 to Bangi MP Ong Kian Ming.
“However, additional cases were detected indirectly through the app, where a list of vulnerable cases especially could be given quickly and accurately to officers in authority.”
The minister’s statement on the Ministry of Health (MOH) Covid-19 app indicates that health authorities still primarily rely on manual contact tracing. People are only required to fill in daily details on MySejahtera about their health condition if they are listed as patients under investigation, typically those who had close contact with confirmed cases.
The police regularly fine people for not checking in on MySejahtera or for not providing MySejahtera QR code scanning at business premises, or for not using other methods of recording visitors’ details.
“The MySejahtera application, which was launched on April 20, aimed to assist in the Covid-19 pandemic management in Malaysia,” Dr Adham said.
“That includes Covid-19 case detection through self-assessment, detection of close contacts, disseminating latest and authentic information related to Covid-19 as well as information on general health to society.”
Initially, MySejahtera had only one module. However, eight more modules have been added to meet the needs of the MOH for additional contact information, location of the case and contacts, handling of quarantine and quarantine stations.
So far, 23 million users have benefited from this application. It also adds value to the close-contact tracing measure, Dr Adham stated.
“The hotspot detector module in MySejahtera is a function that indicates the location of the source of infection and potential Covid-19 case infection. The ‘on demand’ function requires the users to check the current status from time to time,” Dr Adham mentioned.
“This module provides a guide for users to know the status of a searched location.”
So far, MySejahtera application does not use an active GPS feature. Therefore, this application will not be able to provide automatic notification or track an individual, “as it violates users’ personal rights and contradicts MOH policy”.
Earlier, CodeBlue reported public health experts as saying that MySejahtera’s Covid-19 hotspot function should specify the date the app designates an area as a hotspot and the precise location of cases.
Public health experts stated that knowing where a Covid-19 patient has been helps a lot in contact tracing and other preventive measures. However, they said the public should be educated on right and appropriate risk communication.
Malaysians have widely criticised MySejahtera for not designating certain areas as hotspots, despite official reports of Covid-19 cases. MOH said last September that its app only declared coronavirus hotspots based on the location of positive cases and potential for transmission of the virus.
Besides that, MOH also announced that anyone who leaks personal information from the MySejahtera contact tracing app will face legal prosecution.