KOTA KINABALU: The Health Ministry should set up more laboratories in Sabah to overcome the backlog of Covid-19 testing, said former deputy chief minister Datuk Christina Liew.
The backlog in Sabah warrants an immediate increase in the processing capacity of existing labs as well as adding labs to where they are needed, she said.
As of Jan 18, she said state officials had disclosed that there were some 3,700 samples not yet tested.
The ministry should give priority to Sabah in its plans to increase the capacity of labs to do 100,000 RT-PCR tests per day, she said.
She noted the high number of infections in the state, citing that Sabah recorded almost 500 new cases on Saturday.
“Swab test samples are reportedly piling up in the labs, ” said Liew, who is Sabah PKR chairman and Tawau MP.
Liew said the matter was raised at the state assembly sitting on Nov 15 about steps to overcome the backlog, which at that time had registered 3,755 samples.
She said Chief Minister Datuk Seri Hajiji Mohd Noor had given the assurance that the state government, through the Health Ministry, was taking steps to reduce the number of Covid-19 test samples in the labs.
Hajiji had told the assembly that samples were being processed at the KK Public Health Laboratory, Makmal UMS and Queen Elizabeth Hospital Laboratory with a handling capacity of 2,700 samples a day, and through outsourcing to private laboratories.
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