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Dr Noor Hisham: Mass testing done among targeted groups

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File photo of Health Director-General Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah speaking during a press conference in Putrajaya November 16, 2020. — Bernama pic
File photo of Health Director-General Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah speaking during a press conference in Putrajaya November 16, 2020. — Bernama pic

PUTRAJAYA, Nov 21 — Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah today said that the Health Ministry (MOH) has  been conducting mass Covid-19 testing here but among targeted groups.

In a press conference after a special media briefing session, the Health director-general was asked about the effectiveness of the various movement control orders in curbing the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic.

He was asked how the MOH was sure about the infectivity rate when testing had been relatively low during the initial movement control order (MCO), with 79 per cent of cases taking place in October, and only 21 per cent in the first two waves.

“Now if we look into the cases, in the third wave we have more cases than the second wave. So we also look into the infectivity rate. So infectivity rate and the total cases. Certainly as I said earlier, if all of us can comply with the SOPs, we don’t need the MCO in the first place. But the issue is, can we all comply? Maybe 90 per cent can comply, but the 10 per cent is enough to create havoc in terms of the spate of infections. So what we are doing now is to balance, strike the right balance between the two.

“Our targeting is mainly for the high risk group, and mass testing, it’s not that we are not doing mass testing, We are doing mass testing at the targeted groups.

“So now, I think testing, but the testing you cannot do for everybody. The question is, can you do it for everybody? No, but smart  targeting to a population and secondly is how frequently you go for testing, because you are still moving around from one area to another, you are still exposed everyday. Are we going to do every week, two weeks, etc? So how frequent do you need to go for testing?” he said.

Dr Noor Hisham said MOH frontliners were tested every two weeks as they are a high risk group.

“So some people think that we only target  the cluster groups. No it’s not only the cluster groups. We have done more than thousands in terms of pre-operations. Before you go for surgery, we test you first to see if you are positive or negative (for Covid-19). But our positive rate is not that high, it’s less than one per cent,” he said.

Dr Noor Hisham however said that the ministry would continue its surveillance and heighten it from time to time.

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