Moh Of View That Elections Should Be Avoided Dg
The Health Ministry today welcomed the decision to declare a state of emergency for the Batu Sapi parliamentary constituency which would put a halt to the by-election there in two weeks time.
"The Health Ministry had since the beginning worried if there was going to be an election, whether it is a by-election, state election or a general election.
"It had always been our advice that an election should be avoided, as much as possible. This is the Health Ministry's view," said its director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah today.
His remark came as an answer to a reporter's query during his daily Covid-19 press conference presser today on whether the ministry was relieved with the announcement by the Istana Negara earlier this evening that the Yang di-Pertuan Agong had assented to an emergency proclamation for Batu Sapi.
The proclamation will put a stop to the Batu Sapi parliamentary by-election for which polling has been set for Dec 5. Under the constitution, a by-election has to be held within 60 days to elect a new MP after the death of the incumbent, in this case, Liew Vui Keong who died last month.
According to Noor Hisham, the Sabah state election which took place in September was an example of how Covid-19 cases spiked during an election.
"So if possible, it is very important to prevent another election so that we can stop the spread of Covid-19 in our country," he said.
Asked on the sudden increase in the number of positive cases linked to the Tembok cluster, which started at the Alor Setar Prison in Kedah and has since spread outside, Noor Hisham said that the cases came from second tests conducted on individuals who were already placed under quarantine.
For the record, the cluster to date has recorded a total of 1,972 positive cases. On Monday, 111 new cases linked to Tembok cluster were reported, followed by 20 yesterday and another nine today.
"There is an increase in the number of cases, but these are from second tests conducted after quarantine," he said, referring to the swab test that every person under mandatory quarantine has to take on the 13th day of their isolation before they can be released.
Besides this, the increase in the number of cases was also contributed by the targeted testing activities conducted by the Health Ministry.
Noor Hisham said active detection might make it look like there was a sudden jump in the number of new cases.
"But this does not stay long. It is just because of the (targeted) testings," Noor Hisham said.
Polio vaccination continues
During the press conference, Noor Hisham also spoke about Malaysia's efforts in providing vaccination against polio, especially in Sabah, following the outbreak of the disease in the Philippines in September last year.
According to him, health authorities have been continuing polio vaccination drives during the Covid-19 pandemic, including when the country was placed under the movement control order (MCO).
Since the Sabah Polio Immunisation Campaign started on Nov 27, 2019, until Nov 16, 2020 (Monday), a total of 820,135 children under the age of 13 had each been given two dosages of the "oral polio bivalent" vaccine, while 737,936 others were given two dosages of the "oral polio monovalent" vaccine each.
"The positive impact from this campaign could already be seen, where the last confirmed case of polio in this country was reported on March 10, 2020.
"Polio case detection is continued through the Acute Flaccid Paralysis Surveillance Programme, and until Nov 12, 2020, all 115 Acute Flaccid Paralysis cases that were detected nationwide have been confirmed as non-polio cases," he said.
Noor Hisham said the coverage of polio vaccination through the five-series vaccine combination, however, had declined compared to last year.
As of June 2020, the Health Ministry found that only 95.6 percent of the children who were supposed to get the vaccine had got it, compared to 98.4 percent during the same period last year.
He urged parents to ensure their children got immunisation. - Mkini
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