Decentralise Covid-19 assessment centres to reduce congestion – Dr Yii

Dr Yii (second right) speaks to a frontliner at the Covid-19 One Stop Centre (OSC) at Kuching South City Council (MBKS) Dewan Masyarakat during a previous visit

By S. Harrish

THE Sarawak government needs to decentralise the current one-stop Covid-19 centre at Dewan Masyarakat MBKS and open up more swabbing centres and Covid-19 Assessment Centres (CAC) in Kuching.

Bandar Kuching MP Dr Kelvin Yii said this was needed to ease the congestion and long queues at MBKS as more cases are reported in the city.

“There are concerns it might increase risks of spread, especially if SOPs are not followed,” he said in statement after a visit to the centre this morning.

He said that having more such centres will spread out the crowd and ease congestion, reducing waiting time and risk of possible outbreaks.

Dr Yii said Sarawak recorded 1,772 cases yesterday and the positive rate was at a staggering 34%, seven times the WHO recommended rate of less than 5%.

“SDMC should report testing numbers by district especially in Kuching for a clearer picture of positive rate by districts and sub-districts.”

The DAP parliamentarian said public health experts have constantly pushed for RTK-Ag test to reduce reliance on RT-PCR test, which takes longer time and more lab-resources.

“Since majority of those coming in are asymptomatic, saliva RTK-Ag test can be used to do quick screening and isolation whether in low-risk quarantine centres or home-quarantine.

“They can then be monitored for symptoms and disease progression virtually by roping in doctors from the private sector.”

He added that for those who are unable to isolate in their homes, better quarantine facilities should be made available by the relevant agencies to prevent the spread and spillover of the infection into the community.

According to Dr Yii, the slow, piecemeal and reactive responses of the authorities in their testing protocols had only fostered the sporadic spread of the virus and enhanced the proliferation of the variants of concern especially the Delta variant.

“This has led to an explosion of new daily cases of Covid-19, overwhelming our hospital facilities and quarantine centres especially in Sarawak.”

On top of that, he said the Federal and state government should make bulk purchase and bring in stocks of these saliva self-test kits.

Then they should also subsidise it to make it affordable and ensure enough supplies in the market, he added.