Press Statement By Chong Chieng Jen:
I have today visited the Covid testing centre at the 7th Mile Basketball Court Stadium which started operation today.
There are some short-comings in using the basketball court stadium as a Covid testing centre, namely:
- insufficient carparks in the compound, thus causing vehicles to be parked along the road outside the stadium compound. As the road outside is a two-way one-lane road, this poses danger to the passing-by vehicles. Today, when I visited the centre, there were about 100 plus people queueing and waiting to be tested. If the number increases further, both sides of the road outside the Stadium were be parked with cars, which will make it very difficult for vehicles to pass by each other.
- due to the constraint of space in the Stadium compound, there is no drive-through swab test. This exposes all those waiting for swab tests to infection while waiting for their tests. According to one of them who had completed his swab test, he started queueing at about 6:30 in the morning and only had his test done at about 9:00 a.m., approximately 2-hour process. It was reported by Dr Sim Kui Hian in the press that the Delta variant only takes a
few minutes of close contact to spread. If this is so, these test centres are potential places for the spread of the Delta variant. To reduce the risk of infection, the SDMC should select places where drive-through testing is possible.
- The centre has insufficient medical staff. There is also no KKM officer holding the position to issue the quarantine orders for those tested positive or those category A contact persons who need to be quarantined. Those who were required to be quarantined were asked to go to MBKS Civic Centre to collect their quarantine wrist bands and to receive their formal quarantine orders. It makes absolutely no sense to require the people to go to 2 places, one
for the swab test and another for the quarantine order. This will only facilitate the spread of the Covid virus, instead of containing it.
I would suggest that a better alternative for a Covid testing centre in the vicinity of 7 th Mile area will be the Kuching International Airport as it has huge existing carpark, multi-lane roads to accommodate vehicles waiting by the road side for drive-through testing and the Kuching International Airport is very under-utilised given the reduction of inbound and outbound flights.
Furthermore, the Government should also increase the manpower and deploy a medical officer holding the necessary position to issue the quarantine order at the test centre.
Meanwhile, the DAP Kuching Branch has also donated 50 boxes of mineral water and 100 Plus drinks for the front-liners at the 7th Mile Covid testing centre.
Chong Chieng Jen
ADUN for Kota Sentosa