Dr Yii calls on federal, state govts to be more open with Covid-19 management in Sarawak

Dr Kelvin Yii

KUCHING (Feb 1): Bandar Kuching MP Dr Kelvin Yii has called on the federal and state governments to be more open with the current management of Covid-19 pandemic in Sarawak.

Dr Yii said the federal and state government need to be transparent with important data and parameters so that the public can get a better picture on how serious the disease is and how it has spread to the state.

“Detailed Covid-19 data beyond the daily numbers and new cluster must be made accessible to ensure quick, informed decision-making across all sectors including the public to better understand the decisions that is being made by the government – including the implementation of Movement Control Order (MCO) or Conditional MCO (CMCO) in any region in Sarawak.

“This is important to raise confidence among public which will in turn translate to better compliance and understanding from the public. If they understand it better, they will follow better,” he added.

With the announcement of MCO being implemented in Kapit even when it is still classified as an orange zone, Dr Yii asserted it is pertinent that the government is transparent with the justification of its decision to do some in comparison to other parts of Sarawak which are red zones and having much higher rate of cases.

He questioned whether there will be a sudden increase of cases in next few days in Kapit due to the backlog, justifying the decision to implement the MCO.

“The public should be educated on the justification on the decision to avoid unnecessary panic and confusion as well as it has far-reaching consequences including effects on the economy.

“I also urge the government to properly implement this MCO with clear SOPs (standard operating procedures) that are effectively communicated to the public so that there will be no confusions or inconvenience like how it was in Sibu when first implemented,” he sad.

Dr Yii believed that If the MCO is not properly implemented, it will not achieve its aim to curb the spread of the disease but will still take a toll on the economy of the area, especially affecting the poor including daily paid workers.

Although he understood that this may be due to it rural demographic and lack of healthcare facilities in those areas, he said it will be useful for the government to publish data including daily infection rate (Rt) values for that region and every region in Sarawak transparently.

He believed that this will help the public to be more aware of the infection control standpoint in that particular area.

On the Rt value, he said any value above one means that the number of cases is expected to grow and any number less than one means that the virus is under control and the number of cases can be expected to decrease over time.

As such, he asserted that the Rt value by state can and should also be used as an indicator on when an MCO should be declared for district in the state and when it should be changed to MCO, CMCO or Recovery MCO (RMCO).

Meanwhile, he said the daily focus as of current has primarily been on the total number of new daily Covid-19 cases. Although the number of cases is important, he asserted that there is a need to be informed on the total number of tests which are being done daily and the percentage of positive cases every day.

This, he added, will provide an indication of the testing capacity, the daily infection rate and whether the governments are testing enough.

“According to the WHO, the threshold of ‘per cent positive’ is five percent, and if positive rate is higher, it shows that we are not testing enough. The per cent positive is a critical measure because it gives us an indication how widespread infection is in the area where the testing is occurring—and whether levels of testing are keeping up with levels of disease transmission.

“In the case of Sarawak, we should report it in every region and district, rather than a lump sum for the whole state to get a micro understanding of each district so targeted decisions can be made,” he said.

“At what capacity are we testing in the main areas now especially in Sibu, Bintulu, Miri and Song which are recording high number of cases? How long are the backlogs for cases coming out of the labs and how fast in the interval for contact tracing in those areas? If the backlog is longer than 24 hours, what is the government doing to address it?

“At end of the day, I strongly believe that all these data must be made available publicly in spirit of transparency to instil public confidence. This is to make sure that approaches and decisions by the government is backed by the science and data and is pragmatic to be carried out on the ground to encourage greater cooperation from the public,” he said.

The post Dr Yii calls on federal, state govts to be more open with Covid-19 management in Sarawak appeared first on Borneo Post Online.

Source: https://www.theborneopost.com/2021/02/01/dr-yii-calls-on-federal-state-govts-to-be-more-open-with-covid-19-management-in-sarawak/