National Recovery Plan lacks clear strategy to flatten Covid-19 curve, says MMA

PETALING JAYA: The National Recovery Plan has a timeline of targets but lacks a clear strategy to flatten the Covid-19 curve and keep cases down, says the Malaysian Medical Association (MMA).

Its president Datuk Dr M. Subramaniam said Malaysians will need more to be assured of a fast, secure and sustainable recovery so that remaining sectors can open and remain open without the threat of another movement control order (MCO).

He said that while vaccination will need to be a top priority, community screening programmes and a plan to improve SOP compliance are equally important components to ensuring a sustainable recovery.

He said there were targets to reduce daily cases to below 4,000, 2,000 and 500 in the recovery plan but no mention was made on a targeted positivity rate.

"Daily cases reducing to below 4,000 or 2,000 will bear little significance if the positivity rate is high or above 5%.

"There should be targets set to test the community, especially in hotspot areas nationwide," he said in a statement on Thursday (June 17).

Dr Subramaniam said there is a rise in sporadic cases, indicating that infections are widespread in the community.

He said that increased testing is needed to find and quickly isolate the infected in line with the World Health Organisation's (WHO) Find Test Trace Isolate and Support (FTTIS) system.

"These are tests apart from the screening of close contacts.

"The extent of community spread will only truly be known when we screen the community. It will be vital to conduct these tests before deciding on relaxing restrictions, opening sectors and progressing to the next phase.

"The government should learn from past mistakes of lifting restrictions and opening sectors too early without sufficient screening for Covid-19 prevalence," he said.

Dr Subamaniam also said there was no mention of the role of primary care in the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme.

He added that a timeline should be set to achieve the target of roping in 5,000 private general practitioners who will be able to carry out 150,000 vaccinations per day, almost doubling that of the current rate.

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