Extra two labs to increase state’s Covid-19 testing capacity

ISKANDAR PUTERI: The state government will be increasing its capacity to carry out Covid-19 screenings with the addition of two private labs.

Johor health and environment committee chairman R. Vidyananthan said that the state government had appointed a private company to coordinate screenings and Covid-19 tests of several private labs in Johor for those using the Reciprocal Green Lana (RGL) and the Periodic Commuting Arrangement (PCA) at Bangunan Sultan Iskandar (BSI) and Bangunan Sultan Abu Bakar Customs, Immigration and Quarantine (CIQ) complexes.

“The company was appointed by the Mentri Besar’s office on August 10 and has been responsible for coordinating several private labs recognised by the Health Ministry in carrying out tests on samples taken from the international entry points.

“The facility (the two CIQs) is not a suitable place to have a lab to carry out the tests as a high standard of quality management is needed to ensure the results of the samples are accurate, ” he said.

He added currently, there was a private lab that could carry out 1,000 tests a day for those using the RGL and PCA.

“The company is in the process of adding two more private labs, which will expand the capacity to 7,000 tests daily, ” he said.

Vidyananthan said this in response to a question from Chew Chong Sin (PH-Mengkibol) on whether the state government was planning to set up labs and facilities to carry out Covid-19 tests at the CIQs at the state assembly sitting.

Chew said dedicated lab facilities in the CIQs could help reduce response time for critical passengers.

He noted that other countries had made such a move and pointed out that Singapore built a dedicate testing lab inside Changi International Airport.

On a separate matter, Johor public works, infrastructure and transportation committee chairman Mohd Solihan Badri said that the closure of the Malaysia-Singapore border has caused a delay in the implementation of Malaysia’s Vehicle Entry Permit (VEP) system, which was supposed to begin earlier this year.

He said to date, some 65,471 radio frequency identification (RFID) tags for the VEP system had been installed on foreign vehicles, including from Singapore, since January last year.

“Four RFID distribution and registration counters have been set up in Johor, namely at the Pandan RnR, Gelang Patah Southbound RnR, Plaza Angsana open carpark and Lima Kedai Toll Plaza.

“However, since the implementation of the movement control order and the border closure, no motorists were able to instal the tag and register for the VEP system, ” he added.

Solihan said this in response to a question from Andrew Chen Kah Eng (PH-Stulang) on the reason the VEP and RFID project at the Malaysia-Singapore border had not reached its planned target.

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covid-19 , private labs , screenings


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