Pakatan health committee: MCO 3.0 has failed miserably, time to focus on FTTIS approach

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A view of the city skyline during the movement control order in Kuala Lumpur July 1,  2021. — Picture by Firdaus Latif
A view of the city skyline during the movement control order in Kuala Lumpur July 1, 2021. — Picture by Firdaus Latif

KUALA LUMPUR, July 5 — Pakatan Harapan’s (PH) health committee today described the third movement control order (MCO) or MCO 3.0 as an unmitigated failure.

In a statement this afternoon, it concurred with the findings of the Health and Sciences Covid-19 Advisory Group of Experts position that a lockdown would not be effective if a fourth wave hit.

Instead, it urged the use of the 'Finding, Testing, Tracing, Isolating and Supporting’ or FTTIS system to help reduce the spread of Covid-19.

“Admittedly, despite a whole host of public health responses to save lives and limit transmission, the verdict is out that MCO 3.0 has miserably failed.

“Going by almost all epidemiological indices of a pandemic; of increasing case fatality rates, cases brought-in-dead, high test positivity rates, and a high proportion of sporadic cases and health facilities, especially of Intensive Care Unit (ICU)-related care overwhelmed, are evident indications that the current system and processes are inadequate,” they said.

On June 1, a nationwide MCO was re-imposed in Malaysia amid the third wave of Covid-19 cases.

Known as MCO 3.0, all economic sectors were allowed to operate during the period but cross-district and interstate travel, as well as social, sports and educational activities, were prohibited.

Due to high daily cases ranging from 6,000 to 7,000 for several weeks running parts of Selangor and Kuala Lumpur were put under an enhanced MCO.

The PH health committee said using the FTTIS method is better as by increasing testing followed by contact tracing, positive cases can be isolated quickly, reducing infections and removing the need for a lockdown entirely, or making it as short as possible.

“The failures of a rapid response FTTIS have been repeatedly flagged by various quarters, including the Expert Advisory Group. In fact, some of the indicators utilised by the Ministry of Health, notably the Positive Rate run counter to the benchmark set by the World Health Organisation.

“Very specific recommendations and Key Performance Indicators of the FTTIS have been forwarded to the MoH.

“They have adamantly refused to transform their FTTIS policy and it is business as usual in the CPRC (Crisis Preparedness and Response Centre). The nation is paying a dear price for their folly,” they said.

The lockdown will continue to be imposed until several key indicators are satisfied. Cases have to dip below 4,000 per day, 10 per cent of the people need to be vaccinated and the health system must no longer be in critical condition.

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