Saturday, September 26

Covid-19: Bandar Kuching MP urges govt to reconsider approach in presenting statistics, data to public

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KUCHING (Aug 3): Bandar Kuching MP Dr Kelvin Yii is urging the government to reconsider the way they present the Covid-19 statistics and data to the public by not revealing too much information on the index cases.

He suggested for the government to put index cases as a group, not as an index in a flow chart, because the public perception that may crop up might emotionally hurt the index patients.

“The perception is that the index cases are the source of the infection, although for most of these clusters the source of infections are still unknown.

“As we look at the comments on the social media, we see a lot of toxic and deconstructive comments, calling some of the recovered patients as ‘super spreaders’, ‘murderers’ and ‘biggest sinners’,” he said when debating on the motion of thanks for the royal address by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong during the Dewan Rakyat sitting this morning.

Dr Yii said putting the spotlight on the index cases could create a perception among the public that they are the cause of it all, which would put them as well as their family members under immense stress.

“Although information such as patients’ details and close contacts are important for epidemiology studies, the government should consider the way they convey the data to the public,” he added.

Meanwhile, he also urged the Ministry of Health (MoH) to clarify on what result they would classify a case as positive for Covid-19 after a reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (rt-PCR) test.

He said for the rt-PCR test, three types of genes will be observed to determine whether a test is positive for the Covid-19 virus namely E gene, N gene and RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (RdRP).

However, he questioned if MoH classifies a case as Covid-19 positive if a test has at least one or two of these genes present.

“This is important because I understand that there are some countries that do not record a case as positive if only one of the genes are present, although the patient will still be quarantined and contact tracing still be done,” he said.

He urged the government, particularly MoH to reveal this information so that the people may know the true statistics of Covid-19 cases in the country, and to eliminate their perception of the government trying to hide the truth from them.

He said this plan would also help to avoid a possible third wave in the future as seen in Melbourne, Australia where the pandemic is spreading among asymptomatic carriers.