Concerns have been expressed that crowds at Covid-19 assessment centres in Selangor could themselves be contributing to the sharp spike in cases in the state, following photographs shared by the public showing those confirmed as positive in close proximity with others.
Following complaints from the public, MalaysiaNow visited a Covid-19 assessment centre (CAC) in Cheras, where crowds gathered for assessment or removal of the now-familiar pink bracelet signifying virus quarantine.
Although not as crowded as seen in previous images which went viral on social media, checks found a lack of SOP observance such as physical distancing at the Bandar Mahkota CAC.
Covid-19 patient Mohd Ghazali Ismail, 42, was among the hundreds who came to find out whether they would be allowed to self-quarantine at home or be sent to the Malaysia Agro Exposition Park (MAEPS) low-risk quarantine and treatment centre in Serdang.
“The situation seems more in control today, only there are many, especially senior citizens and special needs people, who are not being helped by assistants,” he told MalaysiaNow during a visit yesterday.
“Perhaps they have been overlooked, but this should not be happening. There are some who have to walk by themselves or who are wheeled in by family members instead of being helped by those on duty.”
At CACs, individuals who have tested positive for Covid-19 are assessed and told whether they can undergo self-quarantine at home.
CACs are also responsible for identifying those who could deteriorate in health as well as those who need to be referred to quarantine centres or hospitals instead of self-quarantining at home.
Abdul Latiff, 38, suggested that a different method be used to inform Covid-19 patients of their assessment results to prevent overcrowding or inconvenience to those who live far away.
“I live in Ampang,” he said. “Is there no other way for us to find out our results, perhaps through video calls?
“What about those who do not have transportation? Will they have to take Grab? How much would that cost?”
Arifuddin, 41, said he hoped the situation at the Bandar Mahkota CAC would continue as it was today.
“Don’t wait for things to go viral,” he said. “Yesterday, there were stories about long queues spilling out on to the streets. This should not be happening. If it rains, it will trouble many people.”
A Facebook user by the name of Hjh Zety Baharuddin had complained the day before of a lack of SOP compliance at the Bandar Mahkota CAC.
She also claimed that the staff at the centre did not appear motivated to help those who came for assessment.
MalaysiaNow’s efforts to obtain a response from health workers about the situation at the centre have so far failed.
But Selangor health director Dr Sha’ari Ngadiman said efforts were underway to improve the operations at CACs in the state.
He said the health ministry was estimating the additional number of staff to be mobilised for this purpose.
“We have cut down the operations at several health centres including the treatment of chronic patients by up to 25%,” he said.
“We have also provided tents and chairs for the convenience of patients and have sought the aid of NGos to assist in the management of food and patient welfare.
“We also ensure that the assessment centres are supplied with enough oxygen, and that patients receive oxygen assistance before they are referred to the hospital,” he was reported as saying by Berita Harian.