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Why doesn’t MySejahtera highlight new COVID-19 hotspots at shopping malls?

Malaysia is experiencing a surge of new COVID-19 cases in the past week and several shopping malls in the Klang Valley have revealed confirmed cases at their locations. MySejahtera, which is the country’s main contact tracing application, has a built-in Hotspot Tracker feature which allows users to find out if there are any reported cases in their area.

After the recent reports of confirmed cases at Suria KLCC, NuSentral, KL Gateway, Sunway Pyramid and The Linc KL, many users have pointed out that MySejahteria’s Hotspot tracker feature had failed to highlight the new reported cases. It appears that the Hotspot tracker isn’t up to date and it is still showing “no reported cases” in areas which have been visited by supposed COVID-19 cases.

The Ministry of Health has just issued a statement on Facebook to respond to concerns of MySejahtera on social media. The Ministry has acknowledged that several malls have issued their own press statements on staff being tested positive. This led to disinfection and cleaning exercise being carried out at the respective malls.

MySejahtera COVID-19 hotspot statement

According to the statement, a location is only considered a hotspot after an in-depth investigation is carried out by MOH on the definite and possible source of infection. It added that their findings are based on facts and science.

Despite the official statements by the mall, it isn’t confirmed that the malls are the source of infection. The Ministry also thanked Malaysians for using the MySejahtera app and they urge everyone to only share information based on facts to avoid unnecessary panic.

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The biggest concern by netizens is the time it takes for the MySejahtera app to update the hotspot tracker. As a safety precaution, most people would want to minimise their risk of exposure by avoiding places with confirmed case.

While it is fair for Ministry of Health to validate each confirmed cases for accuracy, the public expects timely updates for COVID-19 hotspots. Until today, UOB Kepong which was closed for 2 days on 22nd to 23rd September following one of its employees tested positive for COVID-19, is still marked as green with no reported cases in the past 28 days.

In case you missed it, Google will introduce a new COVID-19 data layer to Google Maps very soon. This will provide users of a view of seven-day average number of confirmed cases in each area per 100,000 people. At the time of writing, the feature is still not available in Malaysia.

Malaysia has recorded 150 new COVID-19 cases and 1 new death yesterday, which brings the total number of infections to 10,919. According to the Ministry, there are 15 new cases in Peninsular Malaysia yesterday involving individuals that have recently returned from Sabah. As announced earlier, all individuals arriving from Sabah starting from the 27th of September are required to undergo COVID-19 screening and home quarantine.

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Alexander Wong