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MP urges Khairy to visit Sabah to understand Covid situation


3 Sept 2021

KOTA KINABALU: Kota Kinabalu MP Chan Foong Hin has urged the newly minted Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin to make his trip to visit Sabah urgently in order to understand the dire situation on the ground.

He said Sabah doctors have shared their experience with the Covid-19 battle in hospitals where they have been left with no choice but to turn away patients due to lack of sufficient intensive care unit (ICU) beds and equipment.

"These doctors end up having to choose who lives and who dies – they were even given directions to prioritise younger patients, and this basically means to the detriment of older patients.

"This is not supposed to be happening. If these doctors have enough ventilators, then they wouldn’t have to constantly make decisions on who gets ventilators, based on age group.

"I hear that hospitals in Sabah were clearly out of ICU beds, oxygen, and even the morgue was backlogged, despite the rosy picture painted by the government on 'Sabah situation still manageable'.

"According to doctors working in the emergency department, they have asked for more ventilators, many many times. The government’s reply was to say that they’re coming, but it’s been about two months since the requests but there is no indication when they will arrive. The doctors even said that there are many Covid-19 patients who have died despite being treatable," he said in a statement, today.

Chan said it is time for Khairy to buck up with all these issues as well as explain the concrete steps and actions been taken to alleviate the problems.

"Did the Ministry of Health made any emergency orders for the purchase of beds, oxygen, or other medical equipment such as ventilators?

"On the other hand, between Aug 23-29, a total of 86,927 Covid-19 tests were conducted in Sabah. Out of this, 20,983 of them were positive. This translates to a Covid-19 positive rate of 24.14 per cent. This is a very worrying figure. Not only it is the highest amongst all the states in Malaysia, but it is also way higher than the World Health Organization (WHO) recommended positivity rate of 5 per cent.

"In fact, WHO had advised governments that before reopening of the economy, rates of positivity in testing (i.e, out of all tests conducted, how many came back positive for Covid-19) should remain at 5 per cent or lower for at least 14 days."

Community Development and People’s Wellbeing Minister Shahelmey Yahya had on 25 August denied that the Sabah Government had been passive in addressing the Covid-19 pandemic in Sabah.

"Regarding testing, did the Sabah Government take any proactive steps to increase Covid-19 testing in all parts of Sabah? Look at Selangor for example, the state government there have conducted free community testing programmes through the assemblymen.

"Here in Sabah, the government seems to have been taking a 'wait-and-see' attitude with the hope that Covid-19 cases won’t increase by doing nothing additional. To the Sabah Government: please wake up! Covid-19 will not magically go away. There is still a lot to be done.

"In conclusion, we should start with mass testing in the community. The next thing the Sabah Government can do is to revive the Health portfolio in the State Cabinet so that important decisions can be made and better coordination between the state and the federal government. I am sure the new Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin will have no objections and will assist the Sabah Government in such matters," he said.


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