Yeo: 90% Sporadic Cases Show Covid-19 Testing And Tracing Failure

Yeo Bee Yin tells Khairy Jamaluddin to improve the FTTIS approach, as insufficient testing and inefficient manual contact tracing allows the virus to spread unchecked.

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 1 — Yeo Bee Yin today urged Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin to improve the Find, Test, Trace, Isolate and Support (FTTIS) Covid-19 response, amid high positive rates and unlinked cases forming nine of 10 infections.

Yeo, a former science minister in the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government, noted that sporadic or unlinked coronavirus infections, which cannot be connected to other cases, rose from about half of total cases at the start of the year to 90 per cent since August 15.

“This shows clearly that the current testing and tracing system is totally incapable of tracing the pattern of spreading of the virus,” Yeo said in a statement.

She also pointed out that average positive rates exceeded 10 per cent in 11 states and Kuala Lumpur from August 11 to 26, including Kedah, Kelantan, Sabah, and Selangor that surpassed 15 per cent. Only Labuan’s positive rate was below the World Health Organization’s (WHO) 5 per cent benchmark rate.

“With severely insufficient testing and primitive method in tracing, it is impossible to isolate the positive cases effectively to prevent further spreading in the community.”

“In short, we are severely under-testing our population and our daily positive cases number, although high, is under-reported.

“Not only that, our contact tracing mechanism is almost fully manual while other countries, which are successful in controlling the spread of virus, are using much better and sophisticated data analytics to allow for more comprehensive tracing to be done on close contacts,” the Bakri MP added.

Yeo criticised the lack of progress on the MyTrace contact tracing app launched by Khairy when he was Science, Technology and Innovation Minister.

Through the 33rd and 34th epidemiological weeks from August 15 to 28, Malaysia averaged about 21,500 reported daily coronavirus infections as the virus continued surging in multiple states outside the Klang Valley. As of yesterday, about 64 per cent of Malaysia’s adult population has been fully vaccinated, with vaccine coverage varying from 40 per cent in Sabah to 94 per cent in Labuan.

“As the government is planning to re-open the economy while managing the spread of Covid-19, it cannot rely solely on vaccination. A multi-pronged strategy is needed and an effective FTTIS is definitely one of the most important elements to be added,” said Yeo. 

CodeBlue previously reported that Kuala Lumpur and all states — except Putrajaya, Johor, Pahang, and Labuan — recorded seven-day average positive rates exceeding 10 per cent in the 34th epidemiological week from August 22 to 28, including Sabah, Kedah, Kelantan, and Perlis that recorded positive rates above 20 per cent. 

Putrajaya, Johor, and Pahang reported between 7 and 9 per cent positive rates that week, while Labuan recorded a positive rate of only 1 per cent, about the same as the previous week from August 15 to 21. The national positive rate in the week of August 22 to 28 hit 14.2 per cent.

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