PENANG is urging the Federal Government to expedite approval to screen for Covid-19 using saliva samples.
Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow hoped that the Government could immediately approve the reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) testing using the Deep Throat Saliva method as it would allow for mass screening of manufacturing sector workers in the state.
“The Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers (FMM) Penang submitted the proposal to the Ministry of Health (MOH) Malaysia on May 7, ” said Chow in a statement on Sunday.
“The method has also been proposed by the health director- general at the special session of the National Security Council chaired by the Prime Minister on May 10.
“At the same time, the Federal Government should also review all the other proposals submitted by the state government this year which emphasised the mass screening approach and also joint venture vaccination exercises with the private sector.”
Chow said that on Jan 15, he sent a letter to the MOH regarding a proposal to conduct mass screening among manufacturing sector workers by cooperating with FMM Penang.
“This was followed by a letter from about 100 private clinics under the Penang Association of Private Medical Practitioners stating that they were ready to offer free Covid-19 vaccines to the people of Penang.
“In addition, there was also a letter regarding vaccination sponsorship by the private sector specifically for Penangites.
“The state is still waiting for the green light from the relevant ministries.
“I have emphasised from the beginning that the 3T approach, mass testing, tracing and treatment, will ensure that Penangites will continue to be fully protected, ” he said.
He added that data from the state health department showed that a total 57,666 Covid-19
tests were conducted on contacts identified in the state from April 25 to May 6 this year.
“From April 25 to May 1, out of 30,690 screenings conducted, 994 were positive at a positivity rate of 3.24 percent.
“From May 2 to May 8, the number of positive cases was 1,682 out of a total 26,976 tests with a positivity rate of 6.24 percent.
“Based on the current trend of cases recorded in Penang, it is desirable that we intensify sourcing of human resources from the private sector.
“This will speed up the detection of contacts and cases in the field.
“To immediately isolate Covid-19 positive patients, the health department needs to take drastic action.
“The department should provide necessary training to personnel so that existing medical facilities will not be completely paralysed, ” he said.