SHAH ALAM, June 10 — Opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim has urged the government to increase the rate of daily Covid-19 testings to curb the spread of the pandemic.
He said the government should have taken advantage to proactively increase all efforts to control the spread of the virus during the full movement control order (FMCO), which is currently being implemented following the increase in infections, including sporadic cases and high mortality rates.
Anwar, who is also the PKR president, said the move to increase screenings is in line with the World Health Organisation (WHO) recommendation that 10 to 30 screenings are done for each confirmed Covid-19 case.
“For the sake of all Malaysians, I sincerely hope the reason for lower testing is not to report lower cases in order to claim a victory where there is only more failure and loss of life.
“With mass testing in place, we could properly ascertain the true extent of the spread of Covid-19, take proactive measures to isolate cases and conduct contact tracing to protect the general public and do more to protect thousands of Malaysians who will be at risk during the next three months,” said Anwar in a statement posted on his official Facebook page.
Anwar was commenting on the Health Ministry’s (MOH) report on the daily Covid-19 testings conducted that has been declining over the past seven days (May 31-June 6) with a daily average of 99,094.
“Many health care professionals have also questioned the wisdom of decreased daily testing and believe the daily reported cases does not reflect the actual number of cases arising in the country.
“Logic and simple math suggest that if the Covid-19 case positive rate remains 7 per cent or greater, lowering the testing will cause us to underreport thousands of Covid-19 cases,” said Anwar.
Anwar said he had posed this question to Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin on the government’s rationale for not increasing the testing rate and only waiting for the mass vaccination phase to begin in July or August.
He said the question was posed last year and recently in the last few weeks but there was no response and swift action taken by the authorities.
“The failure of health authorities to respond is another indication that the emergency has been used by the government to avoid accountability for its inability to manage this pandemic,” he said.
Selangor was the first state in the country to initiate the mass Covid-19 screenings in hotspots beginning April 11 last year, which had also featured the drive-through method.
From May 8 until today, the state government has conducted the free Covid-19 screening programme in all of its 56 state constituencies with a target of 100,000 participants.