Covid-19: M'sia likely to stick with targeted testing, says Health DG

  • Nation
  • Wednesday, 22 Apr 2020

PUTRAJAYA: Malaysia's targeted approach when it comes to mass testing for Covid-19 has shown good outcomes, says the Health Ministry.

Health director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said the ministry had adopted this approach since day one of the Covid-19 outbreak and would likely stick with it.

"We have often been questioned about whether we should screen everyone.

"If we were to do mass screening for the whole country, on 32 million people, is it feasible or not?

"I think we will still maintain our targeted approach, which is based on location and high-risk groups.

"In high-risk locations, we advise the government to impose an enhanced movement control order (MCO), and we do mass testing in that location.

"This approach produces a high-impact and good outcome in a short period of time," said Dr Hisham at the ministry's daily Covid-19 press conference here.

He said South Korea, often lauded for its Covid-19 testing success, did not do mass screening either.

The health director-general said Malaysia's daily testing capacity is at 11,456 from 43 laboratories in the country.

"On Tuesday (Apr 21), 9,899 Covid-19 tests were conducted at our labs, which is about 85% of our daily capacity," he said, adding that the ministry is planning to add five more laboratories to boost its testing capacity.

He also said the antigen rapid test kits which Malaysia had procured from South Korea could be arriving as early as Friday (April 24), but added that logistical problems might cause a delay.

He said the rapid test kits could produce results within 30 to 45 minutes, adding that the government was looking to place them in the country's airports so passengers could be tested.

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