KUALA LUMPUR, March 31 — Health authorities said 11,750 Covid-19 tests a day can be done as of today, as they aim to increase laboratory capacity to 16,500 daily tests.
Health director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah told a press conference today that as of yesterday, the Ministry of Health (MOH) has run 39,663 coronavirus tests; 2,626 tested positive, while 28,580 tested negative, and pending test results were 8,457.
MOH posted on Twitter that as of today, 40,483 people were tested, out of which 2,766 tested positive, 29,498 tested negative, and 8,219 were awaiting test results.
CodeBlue has asked MOH to clarify if only 820 Covid-19 tests were done in one day, rather than 11,750.
Dr Noor Hisham said Malaysia now has 46 labs that can test the coronavirus using PCR, including government, university, and private facilities.
MOH will now look at the accuracy of antigen rapid test kits from South Korea. If the accuracy is satisfactory, MOH will order 200,000 tests.
Health authorities are also looking at a company based in Penang that manufactures rapid test kits to detect Covid-19 in half an hour.
Dr Noor Hisham also said those who test negative for Covid-19 will now be sent to quarantine centres. MOH has identified 334 quarantine centres nationwide.
“Those under home quarantine, their obedience may be less, only 75 to 80 per cent. Some among those who are supposed to stay at home still go out. So, maybe to curb the Covid-19 disease, we put them in special places for 14 days,” he said.
Doctors have repeatedly urged health authorities to test for coronavirus more widely. Paediatricians Dr Musa Mohd Nordin and Dr Zulkifli Ismail said last week that Malaysia’s Covid-19 tests per million capita of 482 was higher than other countries in the region and several European nations, but lagged behind South Korea’s 3,692 tests per million capita and 2,820 in Guangdong, China.
Virologist Dr Sazaly Abu Bakar also reportedly said the government should conduct aggressive coronavirus testing in the communities by going door-to-door, instead of waiting for sick people to show up for tests.
MOH said last week that it would conduct mass testing for Covid-19 in hotspot areas, targeting groups like participants of a recent tabligh gathering at Sri Petaling mosque, which has been linked to over 1,000 coronavirus cases, as well as Rohingya refugees.