Saturday, October 1

Batu Lintang rep urges CM to help B40, M40 families to get Covid-19 self-test kits, pulse oximeters

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See Chee How and his team will be selling the subsidised self-test kits this Saturday (Nov 13) at Kwong Hup Cafe situated along the main road Jalan Keretapi in Kuching from 9.30am to 11.30am.

SIBU (Nov 11): Batu Lintang assemblyman See Chee How has urged the Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg to make immediate financial provision for the purchase of Antigen RTK self-test kits and pulse oximeters for the B40 and M40 families in Sarawak.

He said in countries that were preparing their population to enter the Covid-19 endemic stage, their governments have been making available free or subsidised self-test kits to ensure that the kits would be readily accessible and affordable, and the use of self-test kits would be a habit of the people.

“In the only occasion that the relevant figures were disclosed, Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah revealed that a total of 107,421 Covid-19 cases were detected through self-test kits as at September 13, after 758,919 Antigen RTK tests were carried out.

“Dr Noor Hisham had also advocated on the need to raise the awareness amongst the public to use self-test kits to increase the national screening rate and emphasized that making it a habit to use self-test kits regularly will ensure early detection of Covid-19 cases would help the individuals to monitor their health and assess risks in order to seek medical treatment sooner rather than later and it will reduce deaths and those brought-in-dead,” he said.

According to See, no figures for the last two months were disclosed but it was believed that more Antigen RTK self-tests were conducted over the period which greatly impacted the national infectivity rates and lowered the national number of Covid-19 related deaths.

“As Sarawakian families are poorer, the state government must intervene to provide free self-test kits and pulse oximeters or subsidise on the costs to make them even more affordable and easily accessible to every Sarawakian household to take care of their health,” he said.

He warned the state government not to waste the state’s funds to procure Covid-19 pills yet be it the Merck’s Molnupiravir or other similar antiviral drugs.

“The federal government had already announced that it had allocated RM1 billion to procure 150,000 courses of Merck’s Molnupiravir.

“It will be wiser to demand from the federal government for our fair share of the allocation of 50,000 courses of Merck’s Molnupiravir.

“Why should we spend more of our money to purchase these oral antiviral pills when we have contributed a huge share to the national coffer?” he said.

As for the other antiviral drug that was proposed by the Minister of Local Government and Housing Minister Dato Sri Dr Sim Kui Hian in the presence of the chief minister at an official function earlier this week, See said it had been reported three weeks ago that that particular Covid-19 pill had failed its clinical trial, and had pushed back the timeline on the experimental Covid-19 pill by a year.

“The company had publicly announced that the experimental antiviral drug had missed the main goal of a mid-stage trial of patients with mild or moderate Covid.

“It is less than prudence to spend a huge sum of Sarawak’s public fund to purchase the antiviral pill which will not be available until the second half of next year, at the earliest,” he said.

The Parti Sarawak Bersatu (PSB) presidential council member added that with the cost of buying the Covid-19 pills, the state government can provide 1,000 free Antigen RTK self-test kits or 100 units of pulse oximeters to Sarawakian families, patients and their close contacts which can practically save lives immediately.

“We will also strongly advocate that the state government engage all the pharmacies in the State to distribute the free Antigen RTK self-test kits and pulse oximeters, as is the practice in Singapore, for good effects.

“Even if the state government will just consider subsidizing the self-test kits and pulse oximeters, through the pharmacies, it will boost the retail business sector while making the important self-test kits and oximeters more easily accessible and affordable,” he said.

Referring to the sales of the subsidised self-test kits in and around Kuching, See said that there were a limited number of the subsidised self-test kits left in stores.

“But more suppliers and well-wishers are coming forward to support and fund the self-test kits, enabling his team to sell the self-test kits at RM7 each.

“We are obliged to continue the event to promote the use of these self-test kits as a habit amongst all Sarawakian families.

“Hopefully, the state government will promptly decide to help provide free self-test kits or subsidise them. We need to make them affordable and easily accessible,” he said.

He further announced that his team will be selling the subsidised self-test kits this Saturday (Nov 13) at Kwong Hup Cafe situated along Jalan Keretapi in Kuching from 9.30am to 11.30am.