150, 000 tests daily is ideal

Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah

PUTRAJAYA: Malaysia should ideally be conducting 150, 000 Covid-19 tests a day, says the Health director-general.

Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said the current testing rate, which is about 80, 000 a day on average, needs to be scaled up.

“The World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends that for each case, there should be 10 to 30 tests conducted.

“We hope the total Covid-19 tests conducted by our public and private labs can be increased to meet the benchmark of 30 tests for every single positive case, ” Dr Noor Hisham said when contacted yesterday.

With Malaysia’s cases now hovering at around 5, 000 daily, 30 tests per single case would equate to about 150, 000 tests every day.

“That would be the best. Minimal would be 50, 000 tests, the mean would be 100, 000, ” he said.

Based on Health Ministry statistics, Malaysia conducted 561, 156 Covid-19 tests for epidemiology week 24 (June 13-19).

That comes to an average of 80, 165 tests a day over the week.

With 38, 911 positive cases recorded in “epid week 24”, the country’s positivity rate is at 6.93%, higher than the recommended WHO range of 5%.

Negri Sembilan, Selangor and Labuan recorded a higher than 10% positivity rate in that period.

To boost testing, Dr Noor Hisham said private labs can do their part.

He added that tests using Antigen Rapid Test Kits (RTK-Ag) are low and should be “scaled up”.

“Our public and private labs have the capability. We have advised all states, employers and non-government organisations to help scale up testing.

“They can engage with the 31 private labs and 13 university labs that can do this, ” he said.

Earlier yesterday, Opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim had questioned the government over the low number of Covid-19 tests.

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