PETALING JAYA: The 14-day lockdown period starting Tuesday (June 1) is a crucial period for the country in its war against the Covid-19 pandemic, says Malaysian Medical Association president Prof Datuk Dr Subramaniam Muniandy.
“The government should use this 14-day period to rethink its approach and re-strategise in its fight against Covid-19,” he said.
He said the authorities should use the two-week window to conduct mass testing, speed up vaccinating and rethink its strategy to check the spread of Covid-19.
He said after three movement control orders since the start of the pandemic last year, it was clear that certain policies had failed to bring Covid-19 under control.
Noting the skyrocketing number of deaths from Covid-19 recently, Dr Subramaniam said mass RTK antigen screening programmes must be urgently executed in line with the World Health Organisation (WHO) Find Test Trace Isolate and Support (FTTIS) system.
“These efforts should be conducted in all states with support from the Federal government.
“It would be best to test now as most people will be at home during the lockdown,” he said in a statement on Monday (May 31).
Dr Subramaniam also said data from the Hotspots Identification for Dynamic Engagement (HIDE) and MySejahtera app, could identify areas where people urgently needed to be screened for Covid-19.
At the same time, Dr Subramaniam said the Health Ministry should accept positive results from the faster and cheaper RTK antigen tests, rather than conduct an additional RT PCR test for those found positive from the initial RTK antigen screening, which could take two days.
Dr Subramaniam also welcomed the decision to allow GP clinics administer vaccines and to increase vaccination centres by the end of June,
Noting that there were a total 8,000 GPs across the country, Dr Subramaniam said with just 5,000 private GPs onboard, an estimated 150,000 vaccinations could be carried out per day.
“Currently, only 184 of the 2,500 GPs have begun administering the vaccines.
“We are at a critical stage of the pandemic. Resources need to be optimised and unnecessary red tape should be removed,” he said.
He also said there had been a lack of meaningful engagement between the government and stakeholders, but it was still not too late to initiate discussions in order to develop a national strategy to manage the pandemic.
“Many policies have been made without consulting those on the ground, especially in private healthcare,” he added.
He also called for resources to be beefed up at all public healthcare facilities as public hospitals are facing a manpower shortage.
“Apart from hospitals, district health offices (PKD) and Covid-19 assessment centres (CAC) are also in dire need of manpower.