KUALA LUMPUR, August 10 — No new laboratories will be built in Sandakan, Sabah, but Sandakan Hospital will purchase molecular diagnostics to maximise Covid-19 testing, Dr Adham Baba said.
The health minister also said the Ministry of Health (MOH) has increased RT-PCR testing capacity from 1,000 daily tests in January to 37,336 tests a day in July.
Dr Adham told Parliament that private laboratories, public universities, and the army have collaborated with MOH to maximise Covid-19 testing capacity.
In his written August 4 Parliament reply to Sandakan MP Vivian Wong Shir Yee, Dr Adham explained that involving labs that already have the platform for molecular testing (automatic GeneXpert machine) was one of the methods to identify labs to conduct Covid-19 tests.
He added that establishing more molecular labs (for labs with microbiology expertise), or purchasing automatic GeneXpert machines that can be conducted by lab employees without the need for a complete molecular lab, are other methods used to maximise coronavirus testing capacity across the country.
“Sandakan Hospital has been identified as one of the hospital labs targeted in this expansion.
“The suggested expansion method is to procure a new automatic GeneXpert machine, and not by building a new lab as stated,” Dr Adham told the Dewan Rakyat.
“Although the daily Covid-19 cases is declining, MOH is determined to continue this initiative as this plan is relevant with the six key points of the exit policy by the World Health Organization (WHO) on the need to ensure the country has adequate capacity for the detection and testing of Covid-19.”