Selangor Exco: Covid-19 Contact Tracing Failed Without MySejahtera-Selangkah Link

Dr Siti Mariah Mahmud says the Ministry of Health cited the PDPA in its refusal of the Selangor state government’s requests to link MySejahtera with Selangkah.

KUALA LUMPUR, August 24 — The Selangor state government today blamed the federal administration’s refusal to share data that hindered contact tracing work, leading to a surge of Covid-19 infections and clusters in the state.

Selangor state executive councillor for public health Dr Siti Mariah Mahmud said the state government’s Covid-19 app Selangkah has not been able to do risk mapping since August last year due to insufficient data shared by the central government.

She said subsequent efforts via discussions with then-Health Minister Dr Adham Baba from the then-Perikatan Nasional government in March earlier this year to link Selangkah with the federal Ministry of Health’s (MOH) MySejahtera app came to naught, with MOH citing the Personal Data Protection Act 2010 as the main reason for not joining the two apps.

“A lot of the suggestions that we brought forward were agreed upon, especially those which involved assets. But one thing that was never agreed upon, which is crucial, was to link Selangkah and MySejahtera,” Dr Siti Mariah told the Selangor state legislative assembly sitting today.

“We kept on suggesting ways (to essentially get more data). We said we were willing to even send personnel to the Crisis Preparedness and Response Centre (CPRC) who would sit and monitor the figures together, but it was never allowed,” added the Seri Serdang assemblywoman.

Dr Siti Mariah said without sufficient and synchronised data on new Covid-19 cases, it would be impossible to quickly and accurately test individuals and communities to prevent further spread of the virus.

“When we fail our contact tracing, that’s the beginning of breakout infections which leads to one cluster to the other. And when we cannot do contact tracing on these clusters fast, there will be loopholes (of infection),” she said. “The whole tracing system becomes loose, and in turn, we cannot find the index case of the infection.”

“This is one of the reasons why we are unable to contain the spread of the virus (in Selangor) because we fail in our contact tracing, and we fail to have an effective find, test, trace, isolate, support (FTTIS) system.”

The Klang Valley was the country’s Covid-19 epicentre since July, as daily new coronavirus cases surged from about 3,000 in Selangor on July 3 to a peak of 8,792 infections on August 6, before a gradual decline to 4,316 cases yesterday, the lowest since July 10.

Selangor, the country’s most industrialised state, has also been recording the highest number of daily Covid-19 fatalities in Malaysia, hitting a high of 221 cases on August 8. Yesterday, Selangor reported just seven new coronavirus-related deaths after 94 fatalities on August 22.

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