Bangi MP: NSC failed the country by allowing interstate travel in December
Bangi MP Ong Kian Ming believed that the National Security Council (NSC) had failed the country in the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic by permitting interstate travel in December 2020 when the “percent positive” testing rate for the virus was over five percent.
In a statement today, Ong said only when the percent positive figure drops to less than five percent should a government relax the existing public health measures put in place to control the spread of the pandemic.
Citing reports that Malaysia’s “percent positive” rate has been more than five percent continuously since Nov 6, Ong said the NSC had erred in permitting interstate travel from Dec 7, 2020, under the conditional movement control order (MCO).
“On Jan 18, 2020, I published a list of 10 Covid-19-related questions directed to the director-general of health Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah.
“One of the questions I asked was whether the DG would publish the Rt Values by state so that the public can know the projected Covid-19 trends for each state and also how the Rt value can be used to determine when the current MCO 2.0 can be lifted for each state.
“I would like to thank the DG for publishing the latest Rt values by state on Jan 21. These projections show that the number of daily Covid-19 could reach 8000 cases by the end of March 2021 if the Rt value remains at 1.1 for the entire country,” he said.
Ong said that aside from the Rt value, we should also focus on the daily “percent positive” rate of Covid-19 tests provided a critical measure because it gives us an indication how widespread infection is in the area where the testing is occurring – and whether levels of testing are keeping up with levels of disease transmission.
The percent positive is the percentage of all coronavirus tests performed that are actually positive, or: (positive tests)/(total tests) x 100%.
“According to the WHO, the threshold of ‘percent positive’ is five percent.
“On Jan 21, 2021, CodeBlue reported that Malaysia’s ‘percent positive’ rate has been more than five percent since Nov 6, 2020, and has not dropped below five percent since.
“So why did the NSC allow interstate travel to take place starting on Dec 7, 2020, under the conditional MCO?
“Could this have contributed to the spike in the number of Covid-19 cases especially given the high amount of travel to places like Langkawi during the end of the year holiday?” he asked.
Ong claimed that this was another example of the lack of consistency on the part of the NSC when it comes to public policies in fighting the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Decisions to restrict movement and then later increase restrictions do not seem to be based on any consistent rules or guidelines.
“The Perikatan Nasional government has once again failed to convince the public that it has a consistent, coherent and comprehensive plan to control this pandemic,” said Ong.