Noor Hisham says the indoor environment of Parliament could see the virus become airborne and linger for hours.
Health Ministry director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah has cautioned that a superspreader event is possible if the special parliamentary sitting proceeds, stating that some who tested positive for Covid-19 in Parliament last week were found to be highly infectious.
He added that prior to the sitting, the Health Ministry had already proposed for the sitting to either be postponed until the vaccination rate in the Klang Valley hit 40 percent.
The second option, Noor Hisham (below) said, was for Parliament to proceed with precautions (reduced capacity and length) but should immediately be suspended if Covid-19 cases were found.
He said a bipartisan meeting comprising representatives from government and opposition had on July 26 agreed to the second option.
Noor Hisham said although only 11 out of 1,183 people at Parliament have been found positive for Covid-19, the Health Ministry assessed there was a high risk of further spread.
“Even though the total Covid-19 cases detected during the Parliament sitting amounted to only 0.8 percent, a risk assessment considering the epidemiology and environmental factors concluded that Parliament is a high-risk gathering that could lead to the spread of Covid-19,” he said in a statement today (Aug 1).
“There were six symptomatic cases with high infectivity rate which have the risk of spreading the disease with the potential of becoming superspreaders,” he added.
Noor Hisham said many in Parliament are also senior citizens with comorbidities who are more at risk.
“Not everyone in Parliament has fully completed their Covid-19 vaccination,” he said.
Furthermore, Noor Hisham said the indoor environment of Parliament could see the SARS-CoV-2 virus become airborne and linger in the building for hours.
This was on top of people using shared facilities, regular small gatherings outside the House and the limited social distancing in the House, he added.
“Considering the risk assessment and to prevent the spread of Covid-19, the Health Ministry proposed all meetings, including those by the Selection Committee, parliamentary select committee, Parliament sitting or any meetings involving people who were at Parliament between July 26 and July 29 to be postponed for two weeks starting July 29,” he said.
He said all individuals who were at Parliament between July 26 and 29 are advised to update their health status on the MySejahtera application and to undergo a test if they exhibit symptoms.