Covid-19: Those with symptoms get priority for swab tests, says Health DG

PUTRAJAYA: As the increasing number of Covid-19 infections continues to overwhelm the country, not all individuals identified as close contacts may undergo tests.

Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham said the ministry will prioritise swab tests for individuals with symptoms first.

“Those who are close contacts to positive cases must undergo quarantine and be isolated.

“The priority for Covid-19 swab tests is given to those who are symptomatic.

“This is because the swab tests may not be able to be given to all, especially in districts or states that are burdened with a high number of cases.

“The emphasis has to be on efforts to isolate all individuals who have been exposed to Covid-19 patients and prevent them from infecting others.

“The quarantine period has to be at least 10 days, and takes into account the infectivity level of the individual after that period, ” said Dr Noor Hisham in a statement Monday (Jan 18).

Dr Noor Hisham said those who are confirmed Covid-19 positive can be managed at their own homes, subject to certain requirements.

Health officers from the Covid-19 Assessment Centre (CAC) will first evaluate the individual’s residence to see if it is suitable for home quarantine.

Among the criteria that needs to be considered are ensuring that the Covid-19 positive individual is asymptomatic, or has mild symptoms.

The individual also cannot be a high-risk individual, such as those who are elderly or sufferers of chronic diseases.

There must also be a suitable person to act as guardian at the house.

“It is important that individuals who have been declared as Covid-19 positive to stay at home and must be contactable at all times, ” he said.

He added that those who are Covid-19 positive and under home quarantine must stay in a room that is separate from other residents of the household.

“Preferably, the room must have toilet facilities. If you have to share toilets with others, then make sure that surfaces such as doorknobs, water pipes and other stuff must be cleaned every time after they are used.

“Avoid face-to-face interaction with housemates. If you cannot avoid this, then make sure both are wearing face masks.

“Utensils for eating and drinking must be washed before being used.

“Ensure that the ventilation of the house is good by opening all windows. Also, avoid visitors, ” he said.

The individual’s health status must be updated daily to health officers or on the MySejahtera app.

Dr Noor Hisham said should the patient develop worsening symptoms, they must contact the CAC, the nearest health facility, or 999 for emergencies.

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