We Should Increase COVID Testing, Not Decreasing It —— Yii

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Media Statement by YB Kelvin Yii:

The Federal Government should be fully transparent with all necessary data including Covid-19 testing rates on top of the daily absolute figures rather than give the impression that cases in our country are reducing when fact of the matter is that we are testing less.

Fact of the matter is that by telling us that daily cases are coming down without adjusting such figures for testing numbers and positive rate, is meaningless and in a way giving a sense of false security over the real situation in our country. You cannot try to “game the system” by testing less.

Today(8/6/2021) they announced that the cases has somehow dropped to 5,566, but they have yet to announce the number of test done to give a better picture of the real situation on the ground.

Based on statistics, the number of tests done over the past few days has shown a significant drop, where we were testing 105,293 on 4/6/2021, 103,862 on 5/6/2021 and then drop to 89,998 on 6/6/2021 and 81,708 on 6/6/2021.

Fact of the matter is that the average positive rate during that period is about 7% which is above the World Health Organisation (WHO) recommendations of below 5 per cent. In countries that has successfully contained the virus recently like the United Kingdom (UK), the positive rate is about 0.3%.

What is concerning is that, even though we are currently under a purported “lockdown” and the emphasis should have been on increasing testing at all costs, the government instead have gone the opposite direction against expert advice to somehow test less during this period.

This is not only irresponsible, but it shows the lack of direction and plans for a proper exit strategy after this so called “lockdown”. If we do not test enough, isolate quick and provide all necessary support to those involved, once we lift this movement control order without a proper exit strategy, the cases will naturally increase and then overload our healthcare system again.

By reducing test, it will also have other adverse effects especially to health of those affected.The slower we test and diagnose them, the higher likelihood they will be brought in late with more severe complications thus increasing risk of death.

By increasing testing, we enable early detection and treatment of cases, rather than late detection that leads to overcapacity of hospitals’ ICU and a spike in Covid-19 deaths
That is why, this period of lockdown must not be wasted. Testing should be the number one priority in the next weeks, at all costs, not reducing them to give a false sense of security.

If we do not get this right, we might end up heavily relying on a lockdown strategy that not only does not solve the problem but has a heavy cost on the livelihood of the people.

Kelvin Yii Lee Wuen
MP Bandar Kuching
Chair PSC Health, Science & Innovation