Ministry proposes fortnightly Covid-19 tests for lawmakers, staff in Parliament
PUTRAJAYA,. The Health Ministry (MoH) has proposed that lawmakers and the staff in Parliament undergo Covid-19 tests every two weeks instead of three days before the start of Dewan Rakyat and Dewan Negara sittings.
Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said this proposal would be sent to Dewan Rakyat Speaker Datuk Azhar Azizan Harun for consideration, as an effort to curb the spread of Covid-19 in Parliament.
“We have also tightened (protocols on) presence of officers in Parliament, that is officers who need to turn up for duty are required to undergo Covid-19 tests. If possible, they should use video conferencing (for their work) but if they must be present, then they have to undergo the swab tests.
“Although temperature checks are conducted, we know that 60 to 70 per cent of those carrying the virus are asymptomatic. The risk is still there, but the ministry will conduct risk assessment from time to time,” he told a press conference on Covid-19 here yesterday.
Dr Noor Hisham said MoH would cooperate with other ministries to ensure that the Covid-19 chain of infection could be broken or to prevent the spread of infection in Parliament. He said the swab tests conducted three days before the Dewan Rakyat, which began its latest session on Monday, had detected Covid-19 in three individuals, including an auxiliary policeman attached to the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO).
“The auxiliary policeman was on special duty in Parliament. So far, he has infected his wife and three of his colleagues. This cluster is known as the Seridana Cluster (Putrajaya) and involves five positive cases,” he said, adding that Covid-19 testing is being conducted at the PMO.
Meanwhile, he said the Conditional Movement Control Order (CMCO) especially in the Klang Valley needed to be tightened to curb the spread of Covid-19.
“We (MoH) are considering Orange Zone as an alert for us to take action in that zone – proactive action needs to be done and may continue to tighten CMCOd”.
The classification of Covid-19 zones is ‘Red’ for areas with more than 41 positive cases, ‘Orange’ (21-40 cases), ‘Yellow’ (1-20 cases) and ’Green’ (zero case). Dr Noor Hisham also advised people in Orange and Red zones to stay at home and comply with the standard operating procedure (SOP) to break the chain of Covid-19 infection.