KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 16 — Despite Covid-19 cases reported nationwide daily in three digits for three weeks since September 25, health authorities are only utilising about half of testing capacity.
According to Health director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah today, Malaysia has a daily testing capacity of 54,206 RT-PCR tests per day, but yesterday, the Ministry of Health (MOH) only utilised 46 per cent of its testing capacity, which amounts to 24,952 tests.
On October 12, Malaysia only utilised 34 per cent of its daily RT-PCR testing capacity, a drop after October 7, when MOH utilised 51 per cent of its testing capacity.
In August, deputy health minister Aaron Ago Dagang said that Malaysia was only testing 5,000 to 6,000 tests a day as he said that there was no need to waste money and resources on more testing.
From September 14 till September 20, the average daily testing with RT-PCR tests in Malaysia was 9,214 tests, which then increased from September 21 to September 27 by 653 tests to 9,866 tests a day on average. From September 27, the government made it mandatory for all Sabah returnees to get tested for Covid-19 upon arrival at respective airports.
From September 28 till October 4, MOH increased its RT-PCR testing to an average of 14,851 tests a day. From October 5 to October 11, average daily testing was increased to 17,825 tests. The average daily tests in five days this week numbered at 16,305.
On the other hand, Singapore’s average daily swabs over the past week were 31,100 swabs, which is almost double Malaysia’s average daily 17,825 tests last week. Singapore reveals the number of daily swabs tested over the past week, as well as the total swabs per one million population on their MOH website.
Malaysia’s MOH has also sent 100,000 antigen rapid test kits (RTK-Ag) to be used for a month in Sabah, averaging about 3,333 rapid tests a day. According to an MOH tweet yesterday, 75,000 RTK-Ag tests were sent by the Royal Malaysian Air Force last week, and 25,000 more tests will be sent soon.
The RTK-Ag has a sensitivity of 90 per cent and yields false negative results 10 per cent of the time. This means that in every 100 individuals that get tested, 10 people may test negative even though they’re actually infected with coronavirus.
Sabah has been reporting a major proportion of Malaysia’s daily tally of Covid-19 cases and had an exponential growth in the number of cases since the end of September, which was after the state elections.