Covid-19: Increase hospitalization capacity instead of curbing social and economic activities

When Selangor moved to Phase 2 of the National Recovery Plan, I called upon the Ministry of Health to ensure that we never have to repeat this lengthy MCO moving forward, which has been devastating on our economy, the livelihood of our people and our mental health.

It is baffling to me that even now the Ministry of Health does not realize that restriction of social activities means the curb of economic activities. The people and small businesses are finally climbing out of the hole after the various prolonged MCO in different names. The government is tone deaf to the anxiety of the people arising from wishy washy statements like this when clear solutions are available.

MoH needs to be prepared to be able to increase hospital capacity if the cases spike up for any reason and not restrict social activities. The economic cost of increasing hospital capacity is surely far lower than the harm from curbing economic activity.

How long are we going to go on a loop? Equipment, medicine, medical personnel and volunteers should be on standby to ensure we can set up enough makeshift hospitals on short notice to take in cases that require hospitalization in case of a sudden surge of cases.

The Ministry should allow all existing GPs to administer these booster shots, the booster shots will significantly reduce hospitalization. The cost to administer the shot will be the same but the process will be ramped up in speed and not to mention its accessibility to the people.

Allowing private hospitals to administer their booster shots as an option for those who are willing to pay for it should be done too. In this case, the government can save their cost as those who can afford it will be able to get it privately and they can focus on one segment of the population.

Simple public health services like this should be made accessible as soon as possible to ensure that we can reduce hospitalization. Until now it is impossible to walk into a Klinik Kesihatan to get a PCR test. You would think that after 21 months, a simple service such as testing will be available to anyone who would want to get tested, but till date, you can only do that in private facilities.

The government needs to ramp up our medical preparedness, so that we don’t have to ever go through any version of a lockdown or economic curbs ever again. We need to increase investor confidence that business shut down will not happen again, and instead, channel resources to keeping the spread of Covid-19 under control through vaccinations, testing and more testing.

Rajiv Rishyakaran
Media statement by Rajiv Rishyakaran in Petaling Jaya on Tuesday, 23rd November 2021