by HARIZAH KAMEL / Pic by HUSSEIN SHAHARUDDIN
THE government must provide accurate, transparent and comprehensive information to the people regarding anything related to Covid-19, Parti Warisan Sabah (Warisan) president Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal (picture) said.
In a statement today, he said without accurate and transparent information, it can create the perception that the government is trying to politicise the epidemic data to show that the situation is under control.
Mohd Shafie said although Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin has given assurance that the Health Ministry (MoH) will be more transparent in channeling data on Covid-19, the data released over the past few weeks to the public is much more confusing and lacks clarity.
“It was found that the data and information exhibited to the public were no longer provided in the form of infographics with detailed information as before. The information was also not channeled on MoH’s website and social media, instead it was transferred to third party sites namely CovidNow and Github,” he added.
He noted that the Github site requires registered access before the available information can be obtained and used.
Mohd Shafie gave a few examples, citing since last July, MoH has issued a directive that all new patients infected with Covid-19 must undergo quarantine at home. At the same time, announcement after announcement was made saying that the use of public health facilities was declining.
“The hospital is said to be more spacious and less busy than before. The ICU is also no longer full. Nevertheless, it is feared that this situation does not reflect the real situation as the death and brought-in-death (BID) cases are very high compared to the last two months,” he pointed out.
He advised the government to review and revamp this self-quarantine policy so that Covid-19 positive citizens receive appropriate care by the public health system, which can indirectly prevent more deaths and BIDs in the future and not further complicate the country’s readiness to reach the endemic phase later.
At the same time, he recommended that the public health system be strengthened with more assistance and funds given to enable the hospital to function to the maximum, adding that the government needs to increase the capacity of the national health system to receive more patients so that they can be quarantined in hospitals instead of at home.
Mohd Shafie also noted the recent high death rate with a total of 592 deaths, the highest to date, was recorded on Sept 11. MoH explained that the record did not reflect the actual death cases as there were many backlog deaths that were reported.
“It is a question to the people because such reasons are only announced when the country is facing the highest daily death rate. Information such as backlogs and post mortem constraints for deceased Covid patients should be notified in advance.
“This is necessary so that the public knows that the data provided is not yet comprehensive as it depends on other factors such as post mortem results and notification of death cases on the day of the incident,” he added.