By Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye
The Covid-19 self-test kits, which are soon expected to be widely and easily available to Malaysians, will indeed be a game-changer.
To test themselves, the public will not have to go to hospitals, clinics, and other places where they will be exposed to the risk of infection
It will provide one less risk to get infected, and one more opportunity to stay safe in public..
Those who are tested positive using these self-test kits can seek fast medical treatment and also be able to self-quarantine.
This will allow us to return to a semblance of normalcy faster than when such kits were not available and reliance was solely placed on the healthcare system.
But there is some concern regarding the cost of the self-test kits. They are said to cost RM39.90 each. While some may question the rationale of imposing such a price, it is more important to look at its affordability.
If in a family there are four members, they will need nearly RM160 to do their first test. And then what happens when they may have to re-test a few weeks later?
This is a cost that the B40 and others will not be able to afford. And if they can’t and don’t, then the community will also be adversely affected.
Some means must be implemented to ease the burden of the financially challenged. It is both in the interest of the families and the community that self-test kits are affordable and available for the widest segment of society as possible. Perhaps some form of subsidy can be considered for the poor and low-income earners.
It is encouraging that the number of vaccinations a day has breached the 400,000 mark.
Perhaps therefore it is time to relax some movement restrictions for those who have also have had their booster shots.
They should be allowed to engage in activities like dining-in, and be free to travel inter-district and inter-State. This will lead to a gradual, but important, boost to the economy.
A word of caution to those using the self-test kits: Please read and follow the instructions carefully, especially on how and where the used kits should be disposed of.
This highlights the need for the continuous flow of information and education by the authorities, and the importance of self-discipline in respect of following all SOPs and other common sense safety measures.
Another matter of rising concern is that of empty vaccine incidents. This is causing anxiety to millions who now doubt whether or not they have been duped in the vaccination process.
How did this happen? Wasn’t this possibility foreseen? Incidents of such nature are totally unacceptable as it will affect public confidence in the immunisation programme.
The pain the needle caused to the skin now pales before the extreme pain that comes from the thought that the syringe was empty.
What assurance can the authorities give the public of the integrity of the Vaccination process to allay the concern of all those who have already been vaccinated.
The authorities must act fast to ensure complete transparency and integrity in the vaccination process.
TAN SRI LEE LAM THYE
ALLIANCE FOR SAFE COMMUNITY.