‘No need to increase testing as cases low’

  • Nation
  • Friday, 14 Aug 2020

MALAYSIA uses a targeted approach in its testing for Covid-19, with more than 1.6 million tests carried out so far, says Datuk Aaron Ago Dagan.

The Deputy Health Minister said there was no need to increase testing numbers as total positive cases was less than 1%.

“According to World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines, more tests need to be carried out if the number of positive cases was 5% and above.

“The number of positive cases is less than 1% so we do not need to waste money,” he said in reply to Datuk Seri Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad (PH-Kuala Selangor), who asked why testing has reduced over time.

Dr Dzulkefly, a former health minister, said testing was vital and that the ministry should not let its guard down in handling the pandemic.

Aaron said Malaysia carries out about 5,000 to 6,000 tests daily.

He said cases among the local community were also low, adding that most who tested positive were those returning from abroad.

To another supplementary question by Fahmi Fadzil (PH-Lembah Pantai) on vaccines, Aaron said the ministry was still monitoring for updates.

“What is being talked about now is the vaccine from Russia. The country claims to have found a vaccine and named it after a satellite.

“However, we haven’t seen any published, scientific proof so we are still waiting and monitoring the development,” he said.

Aaron said together with the Science, Technology and Innovation Ministry (Mosti), they were also teaming up to get access to the Covid-19 vaccine from other countries.

According to earlier reports, Malaysia might get access to the Covid-19 vaccine from China if the Health Ministry finds it safe and effective for use.

Mosti Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said it was part of the government’s efforts to help develop a vaccine through scientific and strategic collaborations with capable countries.

Aaron said Malaysia was prepared in terms of logistics equipment, manpower and beds for patients.

“There are 40 hospitals, 58 labs and ample supply of medicine and beds.

“We have about 5,000 health workers on standby and another 2,000 contract staff.

“As for PPE (personal protective equipment), we have stock for about three months and about 18 million three-ply face masks,” he said.

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