Screening crucial for both symptomatic and asymptomatic individuals

Health DG warns that most sporadic cases are asymptomatic, silent carriers that can infect anyone


THERE should not be any discrimination between symptomatic and asymptomatic individuals when it comes to Covid-19 screenings.

Malaysian Integrated Medical Professionals Association president Dr Muhamad Hazizi Muhamad Hasani said screening both types of patients eliminate more risks of transmission.

“Although some states or districts have been focusing on symptomatic screening, all identified close contacts are still required to quarantine for 10 days to reduce the possibility of transmission within the community.

“Nevertheless, screening both symptomatic and asymptomatic individuals is still the best approach to ensure everyone who is at risk is being tested and free from the virus,” he told The Malaysian Reserve (TMR) recently.

Dr Muhamad Hazizi explained that in terms of Covid-19 screening, studies showed that those with symptoms usually have higher viral loads thus being more infectious than the asymptomatic.

“Those who are found to be positive and symptomatic are at risk of developing more severe disease progression compared to those who do not have symptoms,” he added.

Pantai Hospital Kuala Lumpur internal medicine specialist Dr Helmy Haja Mydin shared the same sentiment, saying targeted testing should include everyone within an area with high cases to contain the spread of the virus.

“Targeted testing in hot spots or areas of high prevalence is ideal to contain the spread of the disease and it should include everyone,” he said to TMR.

Health DG Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah recently tweeted that 80% of Covid-19 cases are sporadic and cannot be linked to any cluster and were detected through workplace, community or symptomatic screenings.

He warned that most sporadic cases are asymptomatic, silent carriers that can infect anyone who failed to follow strict standard operating procedures.

Osel Group chief clinical and innovative scientist Dr Kris See said mass testing is the quickest way to detect infections and contain it.

“We should ramp up mass testing using Rapid Test Kit-Antigen instead of reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction to quickly detect and isolate infected individuals.

“Vaccination rate should also speed up many times over. This is the only way out of our predicament,” said Dr See.

He also pointed out that there is no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to combating the virus, adding that it is becoming increasingly clear that many of the tools and measures deployed against the virus are most probably not ideal, such as implementing lockdowns.

Selangor has consistently exceeded thousands of daily infections ever since the total lockdown was enforced and a majority of the infections were asymptomatic.

Yesterday, Selangor identified 4,682 cases followed by Kuala Lumpur (1,247), Negri Sembilan (541), Johor (392) and Kedah (382).