A Seremban-based doctor said some patients refused to wait at a designated space for screening despite having symptoms.
“They said they had other things to do. Some were scared of backlash because they travelled overseas,” she said.
While some tried to avoid screening, she also found others who “lied” to be tested.
“The test is not cheap, so we will only do it for certain cases, but some lied saying they lived with someone who went to the tabligh event and claimed to have started showing symptoms,” she added.
Worse still, she said many Malaysians who were told to self-quarantine failed to do so.
For example, a patient who was asked to self-quarantine after attending a huge gathering defied doctor’s orders and attended two weddings before finally being tested positive.
“We don’t have enforcers to monitor them at home because we have to attend to the situation at the clinics and hospitals.
“Some countries monitor their patients using mobile apps but we don’t have that, so the virus continues to spread,” she said.
One doctor, identified only as Dr Faris, said a man wanted to be tested for Covid-19 after merely walking past Chinese tourists.
“We said ‘no’ to him and he started to scream, ‘how can you be sure I don’t have it?’,” said Dr Faris, who has been practising social distancing even from his own family members, adding that the public should take lessons from the tabligh gathering.
One doctor who only wished to be known as Dr Yasmin said some health facilities had to freeze staff leave and extend working hours.
“We need people to help do screening, sampling and send samples and patients under investigation (PUIs) to designated hospitals.
“After so many hours for so many days and under such tremendous pressure, our staff are starting to fall sick,” she said, adding they identified five to 10 PUIs on a daily basis.
Dr Yasmin and her colleagues also had their share of difficult patients.
According to her, one man did not disclose he attended the tabligh gathering, so his doctor examined him as a normal case.
“The next day, the patient went to a different clinic and tested positive.
“Now the doctor, who is pregnant with her first child after years of trying to conceive, is developing symptoms,“ she said.
For some, clocking out from the clinics does not mean they can go home and rest.
“After finishing work at 5pm, we have to rush to the border in Johor to help screen travellers who are coming into Malaysia.
“Others have to help at shorthanded hospitals,” she said, adding she hoped movement control order would ease their burden.
Asked about the exhaustion that medical professionals are experiencing, Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Adham Baba said he hoped the public and frontliners would understand that the government’s actions were all taken to curb the spread of the virus.