Covid-19 reagents came two months too late, says SAPP

The Sabah opposition said the late arrival of the reagents showed the state government had been weak in combating the Covid-19 crisis.

KOTA KINABALU: The Sabah state government was accused today of acting two months too late to solve the shortage of test kits to fight the Covid-19 battle.

Gee Tien Song of the opposition Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) said there was no doubt about the real state of the Covid-19 crisis in Sabah because of the shortage of reagents for testing Covid-19 infections over the past two months.

He said the State Health Department had previously announced it aimed to do around 1,000 to 2,000 tests a day.

“This means that the quantity of tests done in the last two months (only a few hundred tests or less or none) has been too low, only 5% to 40% of the amount of tests that was necessary to keep track of the spread of Covid-19 and to combat the virus.

SAPP vice president Gie Tien Song.

“It has been more than 2 months ever since the Sabah government had known about the onset of the novel coronavirus threatening Sabah when Sabah banned all flights from China.

“What has the government been doing for the last 2 months? We have wasted 2 precious months,” he said.

On Friday, state agriculture minister Junz Wong had said the arrival of the 5,000 sets of reagents sourced from Singapore showed that Putrajaya must allow Sabah to self manage more essentials on its own.

He said RM900,000 had been spent on the reagents, with Sabah spending RM700,000 with the remaining RM200,000 coming from donors.

An additional batch of 5,000 more will arrive soon.

The supply of reagents came a week after a non-profit organisation, Osimal Foundation, had donated a limited supply of reagents due to the shortage of the items in Sabah.

Wong had noted the state government had been criticised about the lack of reagents, although health is a federal matter.

It could not be ascertained whether the health ministry had allotted any reagents for Sabah. State health director Dr Christina Rundi has been mum on the issue.

On March 25, she had spoken about the shortage of reagents and noted that only limited Covid-19 tests could be done. “The number of cases is not reflective of the overall situation” due to the shortage of the reagents, she had said.