JOHOR BAHRU: Around Ramadan and the Hari Raya Puasa period, up to 850 people turned up per day at the One-stop COVID-19 Assessment Centre (OSCAC) in Pasir Gudang, but despite feeling tired and drained, the health staff showed dedication said its chief, Dr Rohayah Abdullah.

"They were truly exhausted and low on energy at the time. Imagine, at 3am there was already a line of cars waiting to enter OSCAC although we only open at 8am," she said.

In the heat and only tents for shade, she said that some ended up slumped on the floor due to dehydration and heatstroke from wearing personal protective equipment (PPE)

"We advised them to break their fast so they could continue working," said Dr Rohayah when met by Bernama at the OSCAC set up outside the Pasir Gudang City Council (MBPG) indoor stadium.

Dr Rohayah, who is also state family medicine chief specialist, said some people verbally abused the staff for being told to do a test or be admitted to a hospital or COVID-19 Low-Risk Quarantine and Treatment Centre (PKRC).

"Some also got upset after they were told to quarantine and wear a wristband because it prevented them from working or going out. But it didn't break our spirit," she said.

Dr Rohayah said the OSCAC drive-through started operating on Jan 31 this year with an average of 50 - 60 staffers.

Open daily, she said the number arriving for tests dropped to 350 during the movement control order (MCO) 3.0 in June, but rose to 400 per day early this month.

Dr Rohaya said the pandemic is not a hoax and that people should continue cooperating.

"Believe me, COVID-19 is real, so follow the standard operating procedure. If you are a close contact, get tested and if you are positive, go to the COVID-19 Assessment Centre (CAC) for a clinical evaluation.

"If you have symptoms, go to a clinic or CAC to do a test. But more importantly, register for the vaccine," she said.