Covid-19 Screening Follows WHO Benchmark, Says Health DG

Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah speaks during his daily press conference on Covid-19 in Putrajaya February 9, 2020. — Picture by Hari Anggara

PUTRAJAYA, Feb 16 — The Covid-19 screening for Antigen Rapid Test Kit (RTK-Antigen) and Reverse Transcription Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) tests conducted nationwide is still based on benchmark set by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

Speaking at the press conference on the development of Covid-19 here today, Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah explained that the benchmark analysis set is between 10 and 30 negative cases for each positive case.

“Our benchmark is that every positive case we need at least 10 negative cases so if we report a total of 2,176 positive Covid-19 cases yesterday our benchmark should be 21,760 cases but yesterday we managed to run 41,895 RT-PCR and RTK-Antigen tests,” he said.

Dr Noor Hisham said that currently there are 23 private laboratories and 13 laboratories at universities that conduct test sample analysis.

At the same time, the recent Chinese New Year celebration is one of the factors in the number of screenings to drop, because of the lack of private laboratories conducting Covid-19 tests due to the limited number of human resources as well as the number of people present also having decreased.

Furthermore, when tests are carried out, positive cases are reported while negative cases are sometimes not included in the system anymore, as negative cases are not given priority to be included in the Public Health Laboratory Information System (SIMKA).

“Hence, it seems to show that the number of cases of RT-PCR is decreasing, however, if we look at the case of RTK Antigen are still increasing, which is almost 25,000 tests conducted,” he said.

In another development, Dr Noor Hisham said that MOH would monitor the health of former Covid-19 patients by conducting short, medium and long term monitoring. — Bernama

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