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Saturday, April 25, 2020

Menara City One residents claim Covid-19 tests poorly managed


CORONAVIRUS | It has been almost a month since Menara City One in Kuala Lumpur was placed under an enhanced movement control order (MCO) and residents fear that the latest round of tests done last night could instead spark a fresh wave of Covid-19 infections.
Several residents who spoke to Malaysiakini narrated a disorderly scene of little to no social distancing, particularly in three of four working lifts at Block A which goes from the 39th floor to the ground level.
Malaysiakini sighted several photographs and a video of the incident shared in the Menara City One residents’ WhatsApp group and later on social media.
Residents were seen wearing face masks but standing almost shoulder to shoulder and later in large crowds standing in a long queue.
Menara City One condominium management corporation elected committee member Dr Nik Nur Eliza said the residents were upset as a similar situation had happened during a previous round of testing on April 8 and an agreement was reached on how to better manage the process.
"What happened last night previously happened on April 8.
"Residents were asked to come down altogether in large numbers at once," she told Malaysiakini.
"Old people, babies, children; everyone crowded together. We have been in lockdown for a month, and we are all desperate to go out soon.
"If authorities came knocking on doors, of course they (residents) are going to follow orders," said Eliza, who is also a resident of the condominium.
After April 8, Eliza said the Health Ministry team had agreed to stagger the testing procedure, one floor at a time.
"But I think what happened last night was they were really pressed for time," she noted.
Eliza said the tests conducted last night were the second round of throat swabs to be taken from all Block A residents, despite the Health Ministry team having taken an initial throat swab and performed a rapid test on residents.
The Menara City One condominium was placed under the enhanced MCO on March 30 after recording 17 Covid-19 positive cases, and there have been a total of 51 positive cases with no increase since April 21.
Eliza added that after the last 10 positive cases were recorded on April 21, the very next day, 40 individuals identified as their close contacts were taken out of the building for quarantine, further reducing the risk for remaining residents.
Given that all of the positive cases identified so far and their close contacts had been taken out of the area, Eliza said residents were upset with the decision to conduct further tests in a poorly managed manner.
"If there are concerns that the rapid blood test results were not conclusive enough, why didn't you do the second throat swab earlier?
"You are prolonging the suffering of residents here," she stressed.
Eliza's neighbour and Block A resident Joshua Lim told Malaysiakini they were first alerted at around 7.30pm yesterday to be on standby for arrival of Health Ministry staff to conduct Covid-19 tests.
"At 9.15pm, there were Health Ministry staff along with armed police personnel who went to every unit and knocked on our doors.
"They were all wearing full personal protective equipment (PPE) so I assumed there were also police officers because one of them was holding a gun," he said.
Lim said he was unsure whether to immediately go down given the long queues forming just to get into the elevators at every residential floor beginning from Level 7 - the lower floors being commercial units and parking spaces.
"Because of the lift issue, there were also older people in our residents' WhatsApp group who said they did not want to go down," he added.
At the ground level, Lim said the situation did not improve with similar long queues for registration and subsequent tests.
"Social distancing was impossible, it was too cramped. By the time we reached the front of the line, it has been more than one hour of being so close to everyone," he said, describing the whole situation as being poorly managed.
Lim, however, added that he had no intention to attack the Health Ministry's staff on duty, but rather urged for authorities to prevent a similar situation from happening again in other areas also under an enhanced MCO.
Malaysiakini understands that the Health Ministry will return to Menara City One today to perform a similar test on residents of its Block B units.
Defence Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob, who is also the coordinating senior minister for security matters, previously said the Menara City One enhanced MCO - the third to be announced after two areas in Simpang Renggam, Johor, and seven villages in Hulu Langat, Selangor - would involve 3,200 residents in 502 residential units and 49 shops at the condominium.
Unlike enhanced MCO in other areas, businesses selling essential goods at the condominium complex has been allowed to remain open.
The order also does not state that residents are confined to their units but instead say they may not leave the complex. - Mkini


  1. We thank the ministry of health for their services and will continue to provide them with the fullest support to help reduce the number of infections. However the approach on getting residents tested was totally unprofessional and unsafe albeit further exposing us by cramping us for more than an hour at the common area on the seventh floor . The aged, infirmed,children and those physically challenged were all instructed to go down at once, despite having informed them of the issues that occured during the earlier round of testing . "All block A residents had to come down and we are sorry as we have instructions to follow," was their reply when asked why we had to go down all at once rather than floor by floor. Lifts were packed n many physically challenged were seen struggling as they attempted to use the staircase
    The common area on the seventh floor was so congested n social distancing was impossible thus no one really paid heed to this anymore as nothing could be done but to remain patient and hope the test is conducted soonest where we would be able to return to our units. Tonight ,the test is scheduled for block b residents and we hope residents will not be exposed further as they are herded and allowed to be cramped at the common area. With the cramped up condition, children, old folks and infirmed, we had armed personnel with machine guns walking around too. Seriously, is this required. Having said that ,the nurses on duty were pleasant and helpful but the male staff appeared to be under stress and a few were downright rude when approached for inquiries. We understand the stress you are going through but please do not take these out on the residents as We are the affected people here. We want to work together with KKM , One Team with One Goal, which is to break the chain of transmission thus reducing the exposure rate to as low as reasonably achievable. Together,we can make this happen. Our sincere plea is to please learn from this unsafe situation we had to endure and come up with a planned and strategic approach that will benefit both the affected people as well service providers. Thank you

  2. A case of good intention but poor delivery where residents were removed from the safety of their units n forced to huddle up at the common area where it was totally impossible to practice social distancing. We fully support KKMs initiative to fight covid 29 and will continue to support the fullest but we appeal to kkm to better plan. Residents have informed kkm staff that we should go down floor by floor but their response was they had their own orders to follow. Have a heart guys...there many elderly folks , infirmed, children and physically challenged residents and due to lift issues, they were seen attempting the stairs. Sad sight, seeing them struggling through this. There was Chaos at the common area as we knew not where to line up or go and the queues were so long . The nurses were very pleasant though but the male staff could be seen under stress as there were a few who were down right rude when approached for inquiries. We know you are under stress but please also remember that we are the affected people here. We want to work with KKM, One Team with One Goal, to help break the transmission chain thus reducing the number of positive cases to as low as reasonably achievable. Together we can make this happen. Our sincere plea is for KKM to learn from this poorly coordinated initiative where we were subjected to Exposure. We hope the initiative to test block B residents will be better coordinated tonight. Thank you


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